Prime Minister Narendra Modi inaugurated Atal Tunnel at Sissu in Lahaul- Spiti district of Himachal Pradesh on Saturday.
The Atal tunnel , the longest highway tunnel ( 9.02 Kms) in the world , an engineering marvel with many modern facilities would provide all weather road connectivity to people of Lahaul – Spiti with Manali and reduce distance between strategically important Manali and Leh road by 46 kms .
Addressing a public meeting after inaugurating the tunnel, Prime Minister Narendra Modi appreciated the hard work done by the Border Roads Organisations (BRO) and asked the BRO to document the hard work done by our men in commissioning such strenuous jobs.
He said, “The Tunnel would open new vistas of development in the landlocked hinterland of Lahaul-Spiti and give a fillip to tourism activities in Leh – Ladakh.”
Recalling the contribution of former Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee in construction of the tunnel, the PM said, “It was dream of Atal Ji to provide all weather road to Lahaul- Spiti and he had laid its foundation stone in 2002 and it is my great pleasure to inaugurate it.”
He said, “The development under the present regime has taken new strides and two other important bridges have been commissioned i.e. Kosi Bridge in Bihar and the other in Arunachal Pradesh and priority is being given to all important development projects.”
The Prime Minister also went around the picture gallery on the ‘Making of Atal Tunnel, Rohtang” and also had a walk in the tunnel.
Addressing another rally at Solang Nalah the PM said, “The reforms being carried in different sectors are troubling those who worked to take political benefit for electoral gains and are now trying to mislead farmers.”
The PM also recalled the immense contribution of former PM Vajpayee in construction of this tunnel and also narrated his memories related to the Rohtang pass and Solang Nalah.
Addressing the meeting on this occasion Union Defence Minister Rajnath Singh said, “The tunnel is very important from a strategic point of view and would ensure better connectivity to the border areas and is a first step in providing round the year connectivity with Ladakh; the tunnel would also give strategic advantage to the Army.”
Welcoming the PM on this occasion Chief Minister Jai Ram Thakur said, “With the opening of Atal tunnel the dream of former Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee and people of the state has been fulfilled; it is a matter of immense pleasure PM Narendra Modi is inaugurating the tunnel actually by coming here and not virtually which shows his immense love to Himachal for which people of the state would always remain indebted to him.”
The CM said, “The tunnel would help in strengthening economy of people of Lahaul- Spiti and give boost to tourism in the state.”
Defence Minister Raj Nath Singh and Chief Minister Jai Ram Thakur also addressed the meeting at Solang Nalah. Union Finance Minister of state Anurag Thakur, Chief of defence staff Bipin Rawat and chief of the Army MM Narvane, ministers in Jai Ram Cabinet among other dignitaries were present on this occasion.