New Delhi: On 25 December, the birth anniversary of former Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee, PM Narendra Modi launched the Atal Bhujal Yojana (ATAL JAL) and named the Strategic Tunnel under Rohtang Pass after Vajpayee, at an event held in New Delhi yesterday.
The decision to construct a strategic tunnel below the Rohtang Pass was taken by former PM Vajpayee. It will reduce the distance between Manali and Leh by 46 kilometres.
The 8.8 kilometre long tunnel is the world’s longest tunnel above an altitude of 3,000 metres. It is a 10.5 metre wide single tube bi-lane tunnel with a fire proof emergency tunnel built into the main tunnel itself.
The breakthrough from both ends was achieved on 15 October 2017. 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.
Speaking on the occasion, Prime Minister Modi said the Rohtang Tunnel, connecting Manali, Himachal Pradesh with Leh, Ladakh and Jammu Kashmir, will now be known as the Atal Tunnel. He also said that this strategic tunnel will change the fortunes of this region, adding that it will help in promoting tourism in the region.