Thursday, July 9, 2015




The need to construct a Tunnel for round the year road connectivity was felt immediately after the independence of the country. The old Tunnel at the top of banihaal pass was almost a fair weather  link . Accordingly M/S Alfred Kunz and C. Barsel (Both companies in collaboration from Germany )  were engaged  for construction of this  Tunnel . The  actual construction   work was started in 1954. The length of this tunnel is about  2.85 kms and its elevation is 7,198 ft  with   one lane road in either direction.The tunnel is presently  under  Project BEACON of Border Roads organization.

                 ( Near Banihaal Photo 22.12.1956 )

                  ( Near Banihaal . Photo 22.12.1956 )

On 22nd December 1956 ,Dressed in Overcoat and a hat , the then Vice-President of India , Dr. S. Radhakrishanan declared the western Tube of the Banihal Tunnel open for light traffic. It was also decided by Bakshi Ghulam Mohd   the then prime Minister of J&K  state to take    Dr Radhakrishanan  to Gulmarg on 21.12.1056  to acclimatize him with  extreme winters  and Snow of  Kashmir valley. Accordingly Dr RadhaKrishanan visited  Gulmarg on 21.12.1956 and was amused to see the snow all over. 

                       ( Tangmarg  kashmir under snow.. Photo 21.12. 1956 )

A grand function was later held at Verinag same day. People thronged to see galaxy of politicians at Verinaag town inspite of severe winter and snow.Among the distinguished members of the audience are Sadar-I-Riyasat Yuvraj Karan Singh ,Prime Minister Bakshi Ghulam Mohammed  with his cabinet colleagues  that include Ghulam Mohd sadiq ,Sham Lal Saraf and Girdhari Lal Dogra . I am informed that Dr Sarvapalli Radhakrishnan addressed the gathering in Hindi .

Smoking in public functions was not a taboo and no restriction was imposed over it. One can see Bakshi Ghulam Mohd Enjoying his Cigarette while Dr Radhakrshanan is addressing the gathering at Verinaag.
Later a cultural programme and a dinner was organized in Srinagar by Bakshi Ghulam Mohd for the distinguished Guest and other dignitaries .

                            ( Dr S Radhakrishanan addressing the gathering at verinaag on 22.12.1956 )

               ( Bakshi Ghulam Mohammad  addressing the gathering at Verinag on 22.12.1956                                                                                         
                             ( Banihaal Cart Road 1950 )
          (Bus traffic bound for Srinagar at  Kud  1949) 
Dr Karan singh was highly impressed by the scholarship and clarity of Dr Radhakrishnan on  Indian philosophy and religion  .  He had some close interactions with the learned Scholar during this visit.This fact finds mention in his memoirs as well.

( Avtar Mota )

 My special thanks to Photo Division Govt of India for these  rare  Photographs .

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CHINAR SHADE by Autarmota is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 2.5 India License.
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1 comment:

  1. where can i get more images like these?
    plz send me a link


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