Alternate Road To Kashmir: Excavation Work Completed On First Tube Of Khellani Tunnel In Doda


The excavation of the first tube of the strategic Khellani tunnel along NH 244, an alternative road connecting Kashmir with the rest of the country has been completed.

Construction of tunnel on the Khellani-Khannabal section has been undertaken by the National Highways and Infrastructure Development Corporation Ltd (NHIDCL) and it is likely to be completed by October this year.

‘The breakthrough on the Khellani project was achieved on 24 February but because of the loose strata, we are in the process of stabilising it.

Within another 10 days, the work will be completed and in the next seven to eight months, this tunnel will be made motorable,’ senior site engineer, NHIDCL, Harjeet Singh told PTI.

He said the work on the second tube is also going on at a brisk pace and if everything goes as planned, the breakthrough is expected by April-end.

NH – 244

The NH-244 (Chenani-Sudhmahadev-Goha-Khellani-Kishtwar-Sinthanpass-Khanabal) with length of 274 km is an alternative route to connect the Srinagar and border areas in J&K with all-weather strategic road to ease the traffic volume on Jammu-Srinagar Highway via Jawahar Tunnel i.e. NH-44 .

The unidirectional tunnel is a crucial component of the Sudhmahadev- Goha–Khellani-Chhatroo-Khanabal highway project which will shorten the distance between Doda and Kishtwar districts by 30 km besides providing an alternate all-weather road between Jammu and Srinagar.

The work on the 1.574 km tunnel started two years back in March 2021.

The Khellani tunnel, constructed at a cost of Rs 431.28 crore, will bypass the slide-prone Batote-Pul Doda which has already been declared “unsafe” due to the reservoir of Baglihar hydroelectric project.

In 2008, around half a-kilometre patch of the highway between Batote and Pul Doda washed away due to capillary action caused by Baglihar pondage, the officials said.

The management staff of APCO Infra-Tech Private Limited, which is the contractor of the Khellani tunnel project, are also positive to complete the construction of the tunnel in time after the breakthrough of one of the twin tubes of the tunnel.