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Atal Rohtang Tunnel awaits PM Modi's arrival, Himachal Pradesh gets ready

Shimla: Himachal Pradesh government has started preparation for Prime Minister Narendra Modi's upcoming visit for inauguration of 8.8 km long Atal Rohtang Tunnel on September 29.

Chief Minister Jai Ram Thakur on Saturday flew to Manali and held meeting with top Border Road Organisation (BRO) officials to review the progress work of the tunnel and Prime Minister's rally at the venue.

The tunnel, which will provide an alternate all weather connectivity to Lahaul-Spiti, a high altitude tribal district and further to Leh, is of high strategic importance.

Reducing a distance of 46 km between Manali and Keylong, the tunnel located beneath 13,059 feet high Rohtang Pass, will help the Indian army to use this route for movement of the forces and supplies, upto China border.

Chief Minister directed the BRO officials to expeditiously give final touch to the tunnel, so that the same could be made ready for inauguration by Prime Minister Modi by the end of September this year.

"The tunnel is of a vital importance to ensure an all weather connectivity to Leh and forward areas of Ladakh, which remain cut off for nearly six months from the rest of the country due to heavy snowfall on the passes enroute," he said

The tunnel, he said would give a boost to tourism activities in Lahaul-Spiti besides creating employment and self employment avenues in the area.

This project would be completed by spending an amount of Rs 3500 crore cutting through the Pir Panjal range.

He said a 13.2 km long tunnel would also be built to negotiate the 16,040 feet high Baralacha pass and another 14.78 km long tunnel would be required at the Lachung La pass at 16,800 feet and third 7.32 km long tunnel would be required at Tanglang La pass at 17,480 feet.

Chief Engineer BRO Brig. K.P. Purshothaman said besides other hi-tech features, the tunnel will provide a telephone facility on every 150 metres, fire hydrant on every 60 metres, emergency exit on every 500 metres, turning cavern on every 2.2 km, air quality monitoring on every one km, broadcasting system and automatic incident detection system with CCTV cameras on every 250 metres.

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