A long cherished dream of bringing Kashmir close to Jammu came true on April 2 when the PM inaugurated the Chenani Nashri tunnel. Started in May 2011 it was scheduled for opening in 2016 but got delayed a bit. The tunnel will reduce the travel time by over two hours and provide other significant benefits as well.
A Technological Marvel
Though the longest highway tunnel in India it has many technological advancement associated with.
Standing at an elevation of 1,200 meters, it is built at an expense of 2,519 crore in just five years. Most people’s jaws drop when they read about these:
- It is Asia’s first bi-directional tunnel with fully transverse ventilation system. This tunnel has fully integrated control system which will have controlled ventilation, communication, power supply, incident direction and controlling system.
Its uniqueness is that all the above systems are controlled through particular software. This is the first time in the world that a unified system and software is used to control all activities.
- The tunnel has a unique SOS call box placed at every 150 metres for using in emergencies. The surveillance is helped by 125 CCTV monitors, which will keep a close look inside the tunnel and also on the driving violations.
The best part being, if any accident happens, our control team will get to know before the victim contacts us through the SOS call box. Accordingly, the rescue team will help in evacuation of the person and vehicle through the safety tunnel.
- This tunnel has specialized cameras that will count the number of vehicles in the tunnel and accordingly set the speed limit.
- A parallel running safety evacuation passage is already in place and connected to the main tunnel at different places. It will always be kept free from vehicles so that emergency evacuation will not put any additional burden on crisis management. A vehicle keeps patrolling the passage keeping a strict watch on the main road.
- The Speed limit inside the tunnel is 50 and no overtaking is allowed. No vehicle will be allowed to stop inside the tunnel. Any vehicle violating these rules will be caught by the closed circuit cameras and will be fined on the other side by the traffic cops.
- The tunnel has high-quality hydrants located at every 150 metres, to tackle any type of fire incidents, and at every 75 metres, there is a high definition video surveillance monitor, which will enable the control party to detect any “suspicious acts” by anyone inside the tunnel.
There are also some secure but hidden cameras installed and the locations have not been revealed to anyone. This is to thwart any attempt to disrupt any security proceedings.
- There is a tube to provide fresh air.
Everything is well managed.
Tourism Sector to benefit the most
Though the surface route is the most beautiful, especially just after the Jawahar Tunnel, the tourists somehow got tired while reaching Srinagar. This tunnel now saves over two hours travel time and it will give a tremendous boost to the tourists travelling to Kashmir.
The tourism industry is in a buoyant mood and expects an influx of tourists this summer. The hotels, houseboats, tour operators and agents have geared up to cater to meet the increased demand. Suddenly the honeymooners and casual visitors have shown interest in visiting Kashmir for Holidays. Even the local populace and curio sellers wear the broad smile and apparently are eager to cash in.
First Tunnel Constructed and 12 more to come
There are twelve similar projects which are in the pipeline, and said to reduce the travel time and distance within Jammu & Kashmir. Once these 12 tunnels are constructed, the total road length will reduce by over 62 km and the balance 231 km can easily be covered in four-five hours.
India now joins the elite club, who has tunnels with a transverse ventilation system providing fresh air to passengers. In a few years time, it will lead the pack as 12 more such tunnels are in the pipeline. These tunnels not only save fuel worth Rs 99 crores, Kashmir will also breathe easy with less smoke from vehicles.