Leh, May 19 (PTI) Prime Minister Narendra Modi today kickstarted work for Zojila tunnel, Asia’s longest and strategic bi-directional tunnel, to provide all-weather connectivity between Srinagar, Kargil and Leh. Also Read - India to Observe October 22 as Black Day to Highlight Pak-Backed Militia's Invasion in J&K

The prime minister who is on a day’s visit to all the three regions — Leh, Kashmir and Jammu– of Jammu and Kashmir also attended the closing ceremony pof the 100th birth anniversary celebrations of the 19th Kushok Bakula Rinpoche (Buddhist spiritual guru) here. Also Read - As India Boosts Security at LoC, Pakistan’s ISI Tells LeT and Hizbul chiefs to Push Militants into Valley

The tunnel will cutting down the time taken to cross the Zojila pass from three and a half hours presently to just fifteen minutes. Also Read - Famous Gulmarg Gondola Opens For Tourists After Season's First Snowfall in The Hill Station

Zojila pass is situated at an altitude of 11,578 feet on Srinagar-Kargil-Leh National highway and remains closed during winters due to heavy snowfall cutting off Ladakh region from Kashmir through roads.

The project aims at construction of 14.15 kilometer long two lane bi-directional single tube tunnel. At the ceremony here, Modi said projects worth Rs 25,000 crore would either be initiated or inaugurated today in all three regions and it showed the commitment of the central and the state governments towards the speedy development of the state.

On developmental work carried in the country after forming his government, he said 18,000 villages which did not receive power since Independence have been given electrical connectivity within 1,000 days.

There are four crore households in the country which do not have electricity even after 70 years of Independence and they will be given power connections within a year and a half, he said.

This is published unedited from the PTI feed.