Manali: Motorists are tunnelling their way to mishaps by combining selfies with careless driving while at the same time zooming through the 9.02-km long horseshoe-molded Atal Tunnel, the world’s longest motorable tunnel, in Himachal Pradesh’s Kullu region.
A day after Prime Minister Narendra Modi inaugurated the tunnel, beneath the glorious Rohtang Pass on October 3, three mishaps were reported with the motorists driving recklessly.
The Border Roads Organization (BRO), a wing of the Defense Ministry that excavated the tunnel at an altitude of 3,000 m or 10,000 feet with sheer difficult work and assurance in 10 years, on Monday reprimanded the local department for not deploying the police to screen the movement of motorists.
However, with the raising of serious objections by the BRO, the state government has now deployed the police after 48 hours.
BRO Chief Engineer KP Protohuman disclosed to IANS that an official communication to provide forces to regulate the movement of the traffic was sent to the Chief Minister`s Office on July 3 and to the local administration on October 3.
The letter, gotten to by IANS and routed to the Advisor-cum-Principal Private Secretary to the Chief Minister, plainly determined the necessity of police.
Also, the BRO requested that the common specialists station fire unit work force at the passage.
Three mishaps were reported for a solitary day on October 4. The reason for the mishaps was generally foolish driving, he said.
He said the CCTVs recorded that a few motorists stopped their vehicles midway while crossing the tunnel to take selfies.
“No one is allowed to stop the vehicle midway and no overtaking is allowed despite the tunnel being double-lane, Purushothaman added.
The Atal Tunnel, a dream of former Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee and named after him posthumously, has shortened the distance between Manali and Keylong, the headquarters of Lahaul-Spiti, by 46 km, reducing the travel time by nearly three hours. It has also ensured all-weather connectivity.
With a maximum speed limit of 80 km per hour, the tunnel is capable to take the traffic of 3,000 cars and 1,500 trucks per day.
People in the landlocked Lahaul Valley, who are largely Buddhist and earn their livelihood by growing a single crop of potatoes, peas and exotic vegetables, believe the Atal Tunnel will bring economic prosperity to the otherwise snow-bound, inhospitable region.