On 19.05.2018 the Prime Minister, Shri Narendra Modi, attended the Closing Ceremony of the Birth Centenary Celebration of the 19th Kushok Bakula Rinpoche in Leh and he unveiled a plaque to mark the start of work on the Zojila Tunnel.
The 14 km long Zojila tunnel will be India’s longest road tunnel and Asia’s longest bi-directional tunnel. The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs, chaired by the Prime Minister, had approved the construction, operation and maintenance of this 2-lane bi-directional tunnel with Parallel Escape (Egress) tunnel between Baltal and Minamarg on the Srinagar-Leh section of NH-1A, at a total cost of Rs 6800 crore earlier this year. The construction of this tunnel will provide all-weather connectivity between Srinagar, Kargil and Leh. It will cut down the time taken to cross the Zojila pass from the present three and a half hours, to just fifteen minutes. It will lead to all-round economic and socio-cultural integration of these regions. It also has immense strategic importance.