Srinagar To Leh In 15 Minutes? Smriti Irani Gets Trolled On Twitter, Still Doesn’t Delete Tweet

Many Twitteratis pointed out the glaring error to Smriti Irani and even clarified that it is the time taken to cross the tunnel and not cross the distance between Srinagar and Leh

Union Cabinet Minister of Textiles and Information & Broadcasting, Smriti Irani put out a tweet on Friday saying, “Srinagar to Leh in 15 minutes: Cabinet approves Zojila Pass tunnel project” quoting a Times of India Story.

The PTI story that was carried by The Times Of India claimed that the approval of the project will reduce the time to cross the Zojilla Pass Tunnel.

The Times Of India later issued a correction saying, “An earlier version of this agency story wrongly mentioned that the travel time between Srinagar and Leh would be reduced to 15 minutes. The proposed tunnel would reduce the travel time of crossing Zojila Pass from 3.5 hours to 15 minutes. The error is regretted.”

Many Twitteratis pointed out the glaring error to the Member of Parliament and even clarified that it is the time taken to cross the tunnel and not cross the distance between Srinagar and Leh.

The construction of this tunnel will provide all weather connectivity between Srinagar, Kargil and Leh and will bring about all round economic and socio-cultural integration of these regions, said a press release issued by the Press Information Bureau on Jan 3, 2018. The total capital cost of the project is Rs 6808.69 crore.

While Smriti Irani is yet to delete her tweet, the combative cabinet minister has been in the news in the past calling out news agencies for deleting tweets. In August last year, Irani's angry tweet got news agency Press Trust Of India to apologise and delete an image posted on Twitter. PTI had posted an image of party workers at Bodhgaya with masks of Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar celebrating Friendship Day as part of their newly formed alliance in the state. (Read here)

Zojila Tunnel: The Story So Far

This project has been in the works for several years with the first approval for the tunnel given by the UPA government on October 17, 2013. Thereafter the project went through several tendering process where the response were found to be poor. After receiving single bidders four times, the project was awarded to IRB Infrastructure Developers on single tender basis in December 2015 for 10,050 cr. But this contract was cancelled as Digvijaya Singh of the Congress alleged that the guidelines set by the Central Vigilance Commission were violated while awarding the contract to IRB.

On January 12, 2016, The ministry of Roads, Transport & Highways headed by Nitin Gadkari refuted the allegation and said the Zojila tunnel tendering process was as per procedure (Read here)

On calling for fresh bids, Infrastructure major IL&FS Transportation emerged as the lowest bidder for this crucial project. The project will now be be implemented by Ministry of Road Transport & Highways through National Highways & Infrastructure Development Corporation Limited (NHIDCL) under the EPC mode where the government bears the entire cost of the construction and pays the contractor.

The project is likely to take seven years to complete.

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