National

A Long Wait For A Tunnel For All-Weather Mughal Road

According to Apni Party President Altaf Bukhari, the announcement of the construction of the long-awaited Peer Ki Gali Tunnel on the historic Mughal Road will be a game changer but it needs a fixed timeline for completion.

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Mughal road
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Union Minister for Road Transport and Highways Nitin Gadkari in April stated that his Ministry has taken up projects of Rs 1,25,000 crore in Jammu and Kashmir and counted the Mughal Road project as a top priority, giving hope to millions of people of this new parliamentary constituency that has been linked with Kashmir in new delimitation report.  

Last year, the delimitation commission has given six additional seats in the Legislative Assembly to Jammu and one to Kashmir. The commission has clubbed two districts of Jammu, Rajouri and Poonch with the Anantnag constituency of the Kashmir region. With it, the Anantnag-Rajouri Lok Sabha seat will spread over the districts of Rajouri, Poonch, Anantnag and Kulgam. 

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“The tunnel on Mughal Road has always been a popular demand of Pir Panjal region comprising Poonch Rajouri districts. This tunnel if constructed will make this road all-weather and will boost the economy of the region,” says Shafiq Mir, chairman of All Jammu And Kashmir Panchayat Conference. He says the Mughal road is the only alternative road after Banihal highway which connects the Valley with the rest of the country.  “So the road has national interest and is of great importance. I know Jammu BJP is concerned that it was never in favour of this road and that is why they are silent on this development."

Apni Party President Altaf Bukhari said the announcement of the construction of the long-awaited Peer Ki Gali Tunnel on the historic Mughal Road will be a game changer. He says the Minister should fix a timeline for the Peer Ki Gali tunnel project. 
Gadkari announced the tunnels and two landing for the Mughal road that will make the road all-weather, connecting Poonch and Rajouri districts in the Jammu region to Shopian in the Kashmir Valley.  

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“Whenever Chief Ministers of Jammu and Kashmir would meet me they would insist that the Mughal road sh

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Mughal road in the backdrop of Pir Panjal mountain range. Naseer Ganai

ould be made all-weather road. I am announcing today that the historical Mughal road that links Poonch district of Jammu with Kashmir Valley will be made a two-lane and all-weather road,” Gadkari says. The announcement has come at a time when Shiv Sena recently held a protest in Jammu seeking the renaming of the Mughal Road. 

The 84-km long road links Kashmir Valley with the Poonch district of Jammu and has provided an alternative link road to the Valley since it was opened for traffic in 2010. 

The road passes through the Pir Panjal mountain range, at an altitude of 11,500 ft (3505 m) which is higher than the Banihal pass.

The road was historically used by Mughal emperors to conquer and travel Kashmir during the sixteenth century. Akbar used the route to conquer Kashmir in 1586, and his son Emperor Jahangir died while returning from Kashmir on this road near Rajouri. 

The road remains closed during the winter.  Since 1947 the road was abandoned altogether. However, reconstruction work on the road was started in 2005 during the PDP-led governed and in 2010 the then Chief Minister Omar Abdullah travelled to Jammu via Mughal road.

“Initially, the BJP in Jammu would oppose the construction of the road for local politics. But once the road construction started during Mufti Mohammad Sayeed’s time, the central government took a favourable,” says a former bureaucrat. He says after the delimitation commission made Rajouri-Poonch and Anantnag one constituency, it has become necessary for the government to ink-link the constituency to the all-weather road. “This will benefit people hugely. It is May and the road is still closed. The construction of the tunnel would transform the region,” he adds.

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