Making October 3, 2020 a historic day for Himachal Pradesh, Prime Minister Narendra Modi has inaugurated the strategically important all-weather Atal Tunnel at Rohtang, Himachal Pradesh. The tunnel will cut the distance between Manali and Leh by 46 kilometers.
The Prime Minister said: “This day is a historic day as not only the dream of Atal ji is realised today but also decades-long wait of people of Himachal is over.”
“Not just Himachal Pradesh, Atal Tunnel will be a lifeline for Leh-Ladakh,” he added.
Taking a dig at his opponents, PM Modi said although Atal Bihari Vajpayee had laid the foundation of approach road for this tunnel but after his government, this work was all but forgotten (by the opponents).
“By 2013-14, only 1300 meters of the tunnel was built. Experts said had work been done at this speed, it would have been completed by 2040,” Modi said.
Lauding his leadership and government’s resolve in building the tunnel as quickly as possible, the PM said his government had completed 26 years’ work in just 6 and delivered the tunnel.
“The Govt has put in its full strength for the development of border infrastructure. Nothing more important to us than protecting country,” Modi added.
Firing another salvo at the Congress party, PM Modi said there was a time when defence interests were compromised.
Atal Tunnel is the longest highway tunnel in the world built at an altitude of 3,100 meters.
Built at an altitude of 10,171 ft (3100 meters) Atal Tunnel 9.02 kilometers, is a highway tunnel built under the Rohtang Pass in the eastern Pir Panjal range of the Himalayas on the Leh-Manali Highway. Rohtang Pass sits at an elevation of 13,051 ft (3,978 meters).
The longest motorable tunnel at a height of over 3,000 metres is expected to boost tourism and winter sports in the region.
It will also facilitate the movement of armed forces and infantry combat vehicles to the Line of Actual Control.
Modi saw the exhibition put up by the Border Road Organisation (BRO) regarding the different stages in the construction of the tunnel at 10,000 feet.
The tunnel will keep Manali connected to Lahaul-Spiti valley throughout the year which was earlier cut off for about six months every year due to heavy snowfall.
Modi was accompanied by Defence Minister Rajnath Singh and Chief of Defence Staff Gen Bipin Rawat.