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340 km LoC road to put North Kashmir valleys on the tourism map

Drass Valley, Kargil

The planned border road running adjacent to the Line of Control is set to bring the picturesque mountains and Valleys of North Kashmir and take tourists right away from Gulmarg to Drass Kargil interspersed with almost a dozen tunnels. The starting point of the planned road will be the border village of Teetwal in Karnah tehsil of Kupwara district and the endpoint, Mushkoh Valley in Drass Kargil in the Union territory of Ladakh.

The plan is to not only construct the road but also develop the scenic spots it seeks to cover with the best tourist facilities so that visitors get to explore Kashmir beyond Srinagar, Gulmarg and Pahalgam and the immense tourism potential of mountains, valleys, passes and gushing rivers of Kupwara, Bandipora and Drass Kargil can be harnessed.

The border road will be part of the proposed 600-km highway and the estimated cost of the entire highway is Rs 8,000 crore, according to J&K chief secretary B V R Subrahmanyam.

Even though the road covers areas close to the LoC, the fact that these have good presence of the Army and other security forces is expected to take care of the safety and security concerns of tourists. The border road will also facilitate connectivity with forward locations.

The road will have a total tunnel length of 18 km, excluding the Sadhna Pass tunnel that has already been tendered. The tourist stops along the way include Karnah, Keran, Machil and Lolab Valley in Kupwara, Gurez in Bandipora and Mushkoh Valley in Drass Kargil.

“Each of these tourist locations will be another Gulmarg,” said Subrahmanyam while briefing some journalists in Srinagar. As many as 106 villages and habitations will be benefitted by the Teetwal-Drass road, including 8 in Drass, 43 in Gurez, 20 in Kashe-Yegoban area, 15 in Yegoban-Keran sector, and 20 between Keran and Teetwal.