New Delhi: – The Atal Tunnel, which would be reducing the distance between Manali and Leh, has been completed. It is the longest tunnel in the world, constructed at 10,000 feet above sea level, that passes under the Pir Panjal hills. With this tunnel, the movement of soldiers and military equipment to the Chinese border during wartime can be expedited. Therefore, this tunnel becomes strategically very important.
In view of the situation, which may flareup in a fierce conflict between India and China at any time, the work on the tunnel was expedited. The Prime Minister will be inaugurating the tunnel at the end of this month.
The tunnel was named Rohtang tunnel at the time of inception. A few months ago, it was decided to name the tunnel as ‘Atal Tunnel’, in the memory of former Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee. The tunnel work was being delayed due to some technical reasons. The engineers and workers of the Border Road Organisation (BRO) were putting in unrelenting efforts by defying the adverse weather to complete the project. The work faced many obstacles due to the height it is situated at.
The work had stopped only for ten days due to the Coronavirus pandemic. Thereafter, the BRO took special permission from the government and resumed work. The tunnel was ready in September. The construction of the tunnel was completed in ten years, and the length of the tunnel is 8.82 kilometres.
3,000 vehicles can pass through the tunnel per day. There is an emergency exit at every 500 metres. There are CCTV cameras installed at every 60 metres. Fire systems also have been installed in the tunnel. The tunnel has been built using Australian technology.
Most importantly, the tunnel can be used all around the year, even in adverse weather conditions. Rohtang Pass is closed for six months during winter. But with the Atal Tunnel, now there is an alternative route available.