Tuesday, September 29, 2020

Regional

Himachal CM directs to expedite work of Atal Tunnel

Yadavindra S Rana | August 29, 2020 05:29 PM

SHIMLA:Chief Minister Jai Ram Thakur Saturday visited the Atal Tunnel Rohtang and
reviewed the progress work of the tunnel with the officers of the Border Road Organisation
(BRO) and directed the BRO officials to expedite the completion of tunnel so that it could be
made ready for inauguration by the prime minister Narendra Modi by the end of September.
He said that ambitious Atal Tunnel would provide all weather connectivity to Leh
and forward areas of Ladakh, which remain cut off for nearly six months from the rest of the
country due to heavy snowfall on the passes enroute. This is extremely significant from the
military logistics point of view, he added.
He also stated that Prime Minister was showing keen interest in early completion of
this mega project, which would be not only important from strategic point of view, but would
also give boost to tourism activities in Lahaul-Spiti district of the State besides creating
employment and self employment avenues in the area.
Mr Thakur said that this project would be completed by spending an amount of Rs
3500 crore.  It has reduced the distance between Manali and Leh by 46 kilometers. He said
that the Atal Tunnel would be a boon to the residents of Lahaul and Spiti Valley who remain
cut off from the rest of the country in winters for nearly six months due to heavy snowfall.
The tunnel will provide almost all-weather connectivity to the troops stationed in Ladakh, he
added.
He also revealed that for full all-weather connectivity upto Leh-Ladakh, additional
tunnels would have to be built on the Manali-Leh route so that the high passes did not impede
movement due to heavy snowfall. He said that a 13.2 km long tunnel would have to be built
to negotiate the 16, 040 feet high Baralacha pass and another 14.78 km long tunnel would be
required at the Lachung La pass at 16, 800 feet and third 7.32 km long tunnel would be
required at Tanglang La pass at 17, 480 feet. 
Chief Minister said that snow galleries have also been built at the approach road to
the tunnel from Manali side, and this would ensure all-weather connectivity. He said that
bridges on the approach road to the tunnel from the north portal (on Lahaul Spiti side) and the
south portals have also been completed.
It would be pertinent to mention here that the originally designed as a 8.8-km long
tunnel, the fresh GPS readings taken by the BRO after the work on it was completed, showed
that it was 9 km in length. The tunnel would be the world’s longest on an altitude of 3, 000
metres and will reduce the distance between Manali and Leh by 46 kilometres. 
Chief Engineer BRO Brig. K.P. Purshothaman, VSM assured the Chief Minister
that the project would be completed in stipulated time period. He said that the tunnel also
provides a telephone facility on every 150 metres, fire hydrant on every 60 metres,
emergency exit on every 500 metres, turning cavern on every 2.2 km, air quality monitoring
on every one km, broadcasting system and automatic incident detection system with CCTV
cameras on every 250 metres.

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