Rohtang: Prime Minister Narendra Modi inaugurated on Saturday, the all-weather, World’s longest highway “Atal Tunnel” connected Manali to Leh. The 9 km tunnel will reduce the travel time between Manali to Leh by four to five hours.
Portrayed as the longest highway development of its sort in the world (over 10,000 feet), the 9.02 km-long Atal Tunnel is named in memory of the former Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee, whose government took the decision to build the tunnel in June 2000.
In the auguration ceremony, Alongside PM Narendra Modi, Defence Minister Rajnath Singh, Chief of Defence Staff (CDS) General Bipin Rawat and Army Chief General MM Naravane, as well as Himachal Chief Minister Jairam Thakur were also present.
Describing the moment as a “historic day” and one that heralded the realisation of former Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee’s dream – the tunnel has been named after him – PM Modi said the tunnel would strengthen India’s border infrastructure.
“The Atal tunnel will give new strength to India’s border infrastructure. It is an example of world-class border connectivity. There have been demands to improve border infrastructure but, for a long time, such projects either couldn’t get out of the planning stage or got stuck midway,” the Prime Minister said in his inauguration speech.
“This tunnel is not only important to Himachal, but also because it facilitates a connection to Ladakh. People who live in the mountains would know the significance of cutting down travel time by four or five hours,” the Prime Minister added.
Modi said that, “With the construction of Atal Tunnel, the farmers of Lahaul-Spiti and Pangi, people associated with horticulture, cattle-rearers, students and traders will be benefitted”
He further said that “There is nothing more important for us than protecting the country. But the country has also seen that a period when the defense interests of the country were compromised.”
The world’s longest highway tunnel by altitude will connect Manali to Lahaul-Spiti valley throughout the year. The 9.02-kilometre long tunnel is built with ultra-modern specifications in the Pir Panjal range of Himalayas at an altitude of 3,000 meters from the Mean Sea Level (MSL).
It is a horseshoe-formed, single-tube, twofold path burrow with a street of eight meters and has an overhead leeway of 5.525 meters, the Prime Minister’s Office said in a statement.
The tunnel has been intended for traffic thickness of 3,000 vehicles and 1,500 trucks for every day, every one of which can go at a greatest speed of 80 kmph.
The south entryway (SP) of the passage is situated a ways off of 25 km from Manali and at an elevation of 3,060 meters. The north entry (NP) is situated close to the Teling town in the Lahaul Valley at a height of 3,071 meters.