31st Dec, 2019
Prime Minister honoured the contribution of former Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee by naming the Strategic Tunnel under Rohtang Pass after him.
- The historic decision to construct a strategic tunnel below the Rohtang Pass was taken on June 03, 2000, when late Atal Bihari Vajpayee was the Prime Minister.
- The foundation stone for the Access Road to the South Portal of the tunnel was laid on May 26, 2002.
How long is the tunnel, and what is special about it?
- Upon completion, the 8.8 km-long tunnel will be the world’s longest highway tunnel at an altitude of above 10,000 feet (3,000 metres).
- It is a 10.5 m-wide single tube, a bi-lane tunnel with a fireproof emergency tunnel built into the main tunnel itself. The 10.5-m width includes a 1-metre footpath on both sides.
- Vehicles will travel at a maximum speed of 80 km per hour inside the tunnel. Up to 3,000 cars and 1,500 trucks are expected to use the tunnel every day.
- It will reduce the distance between Manali and Leh by 46 kilometres and save crores of rupees in transport costs.
- It will also provide all-weather connectivity to remote border areas of Himachal Pradesh and Ladakh, which otherwise remained cut off from the rest of the country for about six months.
- The project has significant strategic implications for the military. Once the tunnel is operational, the forces will have access beyond the Rohtang Pass even in peak winter.
- The tunnel is now nearing completion and is a step in the direction of providing all weather connectivity to remote border areas of Himachal Pradesh and Ladakh which otherwise remained cut off from the rest of the country for about six months during winters.
- While Rohtang Pass is at a height of 13,050 feet, the pass on the road to Leh is Baralacha La at 16,040 feet. A 13.2-km long tunnel would be required to bypass this pass.
- An alternative road link to Ladakh has also been developed by BRO on the Darcha-Padam-Nimu axis, but here again; a 4.15 km-long tunnel at Sinka La Pass (16,703 feet) would be required for all-weather access.