Bengaluru: The Banihal-Qazigund tunnel along the 270-km Jammu-Srinagar National Highway is likely to be opened by the end of June. 

The 8.5-km long stretch is presently going through testing and commission process. It should be noted that the tunnel will serve as connectivity life-line during winter.

As per a Swarajya report, Navayuga Engineering Company Limited(NECL) is constructing it. 

"We are presently engaged in the testing commissioning process after the installation of all required equipment including ventilation and electric system," chief manager of NECL, Muneeb Tak, told PTI.

All the remaining work will be completed within a few weeks and will be thrown open to traffic by the end of this month. 

Importance of the tunnel: 

The website adds that the tunnel – connecting Banihal in Jammu to Qazigund in South Kashmir – would help bypass the Jawahar tunnel and Shaitan Nalla, which is prone to heavy snowfall and slippery conditions during the winters. 

Additionally, it should also be noted that the new tunnel has an elevation of 1,790 metres or 5,870 feet, which is 400 metres lower than the elevation of the Jawahar tunnel, making the new tunnel less prone to avalanches.

It is also useful to note that the tunnel would cut the distance between Banihal and Qazigund by 16 km from the present 35 km. It is equipped with a state-of-the-art exhaust system and 126 jet fans, 234 CCTVs and a firefighting system.

"A corridor between two tubes after every 500 meters inside the tunnel has been built, and this can be used in case of any emergency in either tube," Tak added.