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IRB to construct southeast Asia’s longest tunnel

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Mumbai: The Indian highway construction company, IRB Infrastructure Developers Ltd will construct Southeast Asia’s longest tunnel at Zozi La, stretching over 14.08 km, in Jammu and Kashmir, an official said here on Monday.

A letter of intent has been issued to construct the tunnel at a cost of Rs 10,050 crore, making it the country’s biggest national highway project in terms of project cost, on a design, build, finance, operate, and transfer (DBFOT) basis, within seven years.

The project will include approaches on NH-1 (Srinagar-Sonmarg-Gumri Road), and provide an all-weather connectivity to the Leh-Ladakh region which remains cut-off from the rest of the world during winters.

Virendra Mhaiskar, chairman-cum-managing director of IRB Infrastructure said that the project of ‘national importance’ has a strategic and socio-economic importance as it will be will provide much-needed all-weather connectivity between Jammu and Kashmir and Leh-Ladakh which remains cut-off during winter to due to heavy snowfall.

“The project involves constructing the 14.08 tunnel, 10.80 km approach roads, with three vertical ventilation shafts, snow gallery of 700 metres and avalanche protection measures,” Mhaiskar said.

Hoping to complete the project within the stipulated time-frame (7 years) in the tough Himalayan terrain, he said the concession period for the project is 22 years.

The company would receive a semi-annual annuity of Rs.981 crore from the ministry of highways, commencing after completion of construction of the project, twice every year till the end of the concession period.

IRB now expands its base to the ninth state in the country with this esteemed project and its book increased to Rs 16,430 crore, including 20 Road BOT project, including 14 which are already under operation.(IANS)

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Jammu and Kashmir cabinet gets five fresh additions

Deputy Chief Minister Nirmal Singh, Health Minister Bali Bhagat and junior Minister Priya Sethi will not be included in the new council, Top party sources said late Sunday.

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The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) will induct five new faces in the Jammu and Kashmir Cabinet and has also decided to drop three ministers in the much-awaited coalition ministry reshuffle slated to take place on Monday.
BJP logo, Wikimedia commons

The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) will induct five new faces in the Jammu and Kashmir Cabinet and has also decided to drop three ministers in the much-awaited coalition ministry reshuffle slated to take place on Monday.

Deputy Chief Minister Nirmal Singh, Health Minister Bali Bhagat and junior Minister Priya Sethi will not be included in the new council, Top party sources said late Sunday.

"Among the existing ministers, Sunil Sharma will be elevated to cabinet rank," the sources added.
Jammu and Kashmir Map, wikimedia commons

“Assembly Speaker Kavinder Gupta will be the new Deputy Chief Minister. Nirmal Singh who will be named the new Sspeaker of the state Legislative Assembly,” the sources said.

“The other legislators who will be inducted into the cabinet today are Sat Sharma, Rajiv Jasrotia, Devender Maniyal and Shakti Parihar.

“Parihar will be sworn in as a junior minister while the other four will be of cabinet minister rank.

“Among the existing ministers, Sunil Sharma will be elevated to cabinet rank,” the sources added.

The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) is also inducting two new faces into the council.

Also Read: Modi govt. is developing Buddhist tourism in the country

Pulwama MLA Muhammad Khalil Bhand and Sonawar MLA Muhammad Ashraf Mir will be sworn-in on Monday.

State Governor N.N. Vohra will administer the oath of office and secrecy to the new ministers at the Convention Centre here.

Portfolios of the Council of Ministers will be announced by Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti later on Monday. (IANS)

 

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