The Central government has named the Rohtang tunnel after former Prime Minister of India Atal Bihari Vajpayee. The decision in this regard was taken by the Union cabinet in the meeting and from now on this tunnel would be called as Atal Tunnel, announced PM Narender Modi .
The Atal tunnel is in the final stage of completion and is likely to be completed by September 2020. After completion the tunnel would reduce the distance between Manali and Leh by nearly 45 kilometers.
The tunnel is being constructed by Border Roads Organization (BRO) under the Rohtang pass situated at the height of 13050 ft, which is gateway to Lahaul – Spiti district and also provides road connectivity to Leh.
The idea of construction of an underground tunnel under the Rohtang pass was first mooted by former Prime Minister Indira Gandhi in 1983 but actual work on the project stated in 2002 when then Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee laid foundation stone of the tunnel.
The 8.8 kilometers long tunnel is being constructed at the height of 10071 ft. by AF -con company in collaboration with an Austrian firm and is likely to be constructed at the cost of nearly Rs 4000 crorers.
The Rohtang experiences heavy snowfall during winter months and remains closed almost for six months, snapping the road connectivity to Lahaul – Spiti and Leh for almost six month and construction of the tunnel would provide all weather road connectivity round the year.
The Manali- Leh road is also of strategic importance and an alternative route to Leh which also remains cut-off during winters and this road is also used for transporting goods to forward areas to Leh border connected with China.
Chief Minister Jai Ram Thakur has thanked the Central government for naming the tunnel after former Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee and said “it was Atal Ji who made the project to see light of the day and naming the tunnel after him is real tribute to the former Prime Minister.”