A 600 km-long highway will be constructed along the border touching all picturesque tourist spots in Kashmir, each of which will be “another Gulmarg”, J&K Chief Secretary BVR Subrahmanyam has said.

The Rs 8,000 crore road project will connect Gulmarg with Kargil and Drass in Ladakh. “We are planning to construct a 600 km road which will touch tourist attractions like Keran, Gurej and Machhal. The road will connect all unexplored tourist spots and picturesque valleys and help open them for the tourists,” Subrahmanyam told a group of visiting journalists.

The Chief Secretary said there will be 12 to 13 major tunnels along the road and it will also facilitate connectivity to the forward locations. “Each of these tourist locations will be another Gulmarg,” he said.

While picturesque Keran and Machhal are located along the Line of Control in Kupwara district, Gurez is a Valley surrounded by snow-capped mountains in Bandipora district. Kargil and Drass now fall under Union Territory of Ladakh. Gulmarg, located about 50 km from Srinagar, is one of the best tourist attractions in the country with its snow-clad mountains, magnificent beauty and winter game facilities.

The Chief Secretary said J&K administration has also intensified construction of rural roads. “Earlier, on an average 1,300 km rural road was built in a year but now we are planning to build 5,000 km rural road in a year,” he said.

He also said the administration was constructing two huge IT towers with five lakh sq feet area in Srinagar and Jammu each. Subrahmanyam said coronavirus pandemic could not hit agricultural and horticulture sectors much. However, the sectors badly hit by COVID19 were tourism, transportation and other business establishments.

“People are more resilient when it comes to lockdowns, having witnessed many separatist-induced shutdowns in long years. I can say confidently that COVID19’s impact on J&K economy will be the least among all states and UTs,” he said. On the now delayed proposed Global Investment Summit, Subrahmanyam said the event may be held in next financial year.