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Finally, Rohtang Tunnel will be functional by September

Shimla: Delayed for over five years, Rohtang Tunnel, now also named as "Atal Tunnel" will be finally made operational in a month's time.

Beside Lahaul-Spiti, a district which remains under snow for six months, the tunnel will be an alternate route for movement of the army and strategic supplies to Ladakh along China borders. Prime Minister Narendra Modi will dedicate the 8.8 km horse-shoe shaped strategic tunnel–beneath 13,059 feet high Rohtang Pass in September 2020.

Chief Minister Jai Ram Thakur, who flew to Lahaul-Spiti and Kullu on Thursday undertook inspection of the tunnel, reviewed its progress with top engineers of Border Roads Organisation and civil administration .

Chief Engineer BRO Brig. K P Purshothaman made a detailed presentation to the Chief Minister and assured completion within a stipulated time period. In fact, after killing of 20 Indian soldiers in deadly conflict with Chinese troops in the Galwan valley of Eastern Ladakh, India has discovered the strategic importance of the tunnel and now want the project to get completed.

The Prime Minister few days back asked Chief Minister to ensure that work at the tunnel should be facilitated and its early completion, without any further delays.

The tunnel was conceived by former Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi but it was Atal Bihari Vajpayeee who really took pains and granted approval to the project.

As per scheduled, the tunnel, for which the foundation stone was laid in 2010 by UPA Chairperson Sonia Gandhi, was to be completed in 2015.

During Lok Sabha polls, Modi had announced at Mandi that he will come to Himachal Pradesh soon to dedicate the Atal Tunnel.

Chief Minister told the BRO teams that Prime Minister was showing keen interest in early completion of this mega project, which was not only important from strategic point of view but would also prove boon for the people of the Lahaul Spiti district.

The project would be completed by spending an amount of Rs 3500 crore. The tunnel will shorten the distance by 46 kilometres.

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