Strategic Rohtang tunnel named after Vajpayee near completion: BRO chief

Manali (IANS) With Prime Minister Narendra Modi likely to inaugurate the strategic Rohtang tunnel named after the late Atal Bihari Vajpayee next month, Border Roads Organisation (BRO) Director General Lt Gen Harpal Singh on Saturday reviewed its progress.

Due to its strategic importance and the fact that it is nearing completion, the progress of the tunnel work is being closely monitored personally by the DGBR (Director General Border Roads) through daily briefings and interactions with the stakeholders, an official statement by the BRO said after Singh’s second visit within a month.

On the eve of the birth anniversary of former Prime Minister late Atal Bihari Vajpayee, the Central government on December 24, 2019 had announced to name the Rohtang tunnel, a road link between Kullu and the landlocked Lahaul Valley, near here after Vajpayee.

The late BJP stalwart had laid the foundation stone for the tunnel in 2003 that would not only provide all-weather connectivity to the landlocked Lahaul-Spiti, but will also attract tourists to the district.

This has ensured that the people of Lahaul will be able to use the tunnel this winter getting the much awaited freedom from the winter blockage of the Rohtang Pass, said the statement.

The final length of the tunnel is 9,020 m.

“Since his appointment as DGBR, the tunnel has progressed at an exceptional pace and it is learned that it will be dedicated to the nation soon.

“This will be a special feather in BRO’s cap which has been in the news lately for expeditious development of border infrastructure,” said the BRO.

Singh inspected the progress related to civil, electrical and mechanical work and also gave his inputs for improving the aesthetics of the tunnel portals. He also spent considerable time on the Chandra Bridge at the north portal of the tunnel on which work has progressed at a fast pace, it added.

The BRO, a wing of the Central government that constructs and maintains crucial road links along international borders, has been tasked with the construction of the 8.80 km horseshoe shaped tunnel which lies beneath the majestic Rohtang Pass.

The most ambitious and expensive undertaking of its kind, the excavation of the tunnel was completed in October 2017.

Situated in the Pir Panjal ranges, the Rohtang Pass highway tunnel will provide ample room for two-way traffic and is designed to cater to a maximum vehicular speed of 80 km per hour.

Upon completion, it will also be a boon for the residents of the cold deserts of Lahaul Valley, where over 20,000 people remain cut off from the rest of the country in winter owing to the closure of the Rohtang Pass.

Besides reducing road distance by approximately 46 km and saving travel time of five hours between Manali and Keylong, headquarters of Lahaul-Spiti, 3,000 vehicles can ply per day in the tunnel under any weather condition.

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