India's longest railway tunnel excavated in J-K, IBN Live News Srinagar, Oct 14 (PTI) The Kashmir rail link project took a significant leap today with the completion of excavation work of a 11km-long tunnel, the longest in the country, underneath the rugged Pir Panjal mountains. The Pir Panjal tunnel, which constitutes a vital link between Udhampur and Qazigund of the national project, runs below the existing Jawahar road tunnel and promises to reduce the travelling distance between Banihal and Qazigund from 35 km to only 11 km. "It is one of the modern tunnels of the world, which also has provision for a 10-feet wide parallel road running adjacent to the rail track for carrying out rescue work," said Member (Engineering), Railway Board, A P Mishra this afternoon. Given its length, proper ventilation has been provided and measures will be taken to provide mobile connectivity for seamless communication even while travelling through it, he said, adding the entire tunneling work will be completed within six to seven months. Considered a major engineering achievement for railways, the tunnel, which is the second longest tunnel in Asia after China's Wushaoling tunnel (20 km) in Gansu, was executed by Hindustan Construction Company at a cost running close to Rs 1,100 crore. "In other words, Rs 100 crore was spent for constructing a km of the tunnel," Mishra said. The total excavated quantity from the tunnel is equal to a mountain, said officials of the construction firm. "There were several challenges like the unpredictable nature of the rock, the strain and ingress of water and harsh weather but we overcame them through careful planning and efficient use of technology," said project manager of the construction firm, Sharanappa Yalal.