IAS Gyan

Daily News Analysis


20th February, 2023 Geography

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  • The Union Cabinet gave its nod for the construction of the 4.1-km Shinku La tunnel on the Nimu-Padam-Darcha road link to provide all-weather connectivity to the border areas of Ladakh.

The Tunnel

  • Shinku-La Tunnel, also known as Shinkula Tunnel or Shingo-La Tunnel, is a planned motorable tunnel linking Himachal Pradesh’s Lahaul Valley and Ladakh’s Zanskar Valley in Northern India.
  • The Shinku La tunnel is a part of Project Yojak. This project is implemented by BRO. The main objective of the project is to make sure Manali – Leh route is accessible all through the year.

Further Details

  • The Ministry of Defence is creating Darcha-Shinkula-Padum-Nimu as an alternate road to connect Ladakh and Himachal Pradesh through the Border Roads Organisation (BRO).
  • It’d be the third route connecting Ladakh to the main place, following the Manali-Sarchu-Leh and Srinagar-Kargil-Leh highways.
  • After the Shinku-la tunnel is completed, the Darcha-Padum-Nimu or Manali-Padum-Nimu path would become all-weather travel road which would be really the safest and most efficient method of reaching Leh.
  • Shinkula pass will be the only pass on this new road because the Atal Tunnel, Rohtang, has skirted the 13,050ft high Rohtang pass. The Darcha-Padum-Nimu route, unlike the Manali-Sarchu-Leh highway, has only one mountain pass — Shinkula pass.


Strategic Importance

  • This new Shinku La Tunnel route will make military movement easier even during the winter months. Otherwise, for five to seven months a year, both the Manali-Leh and Srinagar-Leh highways are closed due to heavy snowfall.
  • Atal tunnel is now the world’s longest roadway tunnel above 10,000 feet. Shinku-la tunnel will be the world’s longest high-altitude highway tunnel if completed.
  • Nimu is located 35 kilometres from Leh and 185 kilometres from Kargil. Along the Manali-Sarchu-Leh route, Darcha is 100 kilometres from Manali (through the Atal Tunnel).


  • It will help connect the Ladakh area, especially the Zanskar valley, with the entire country.
  • It reduces the travel time between Himachal Pradesh and Ladakh.

Specifications for Shinku La Tunnel

  • Tunnel length: 4.1 km
  • Locations include Lahaul, Himachal Pradesh, and Zanskar, Ladakh’s UT.
  • Will be constructed on the Nimu-Padam-Darcha road link.
  • Lakhang, Zanskar is the North Portal (Now 3 KM before Shinku-la top)
  • Patseo, Lahaul, South Portal (Now just below Shinku-la top)
  • Tunnel elevation (approximately): 14,000 feet
  • Shinkula Pass is 16,580 feet above sea level.
  • Manali-Padum-Nimu