May 5, 2020 3:22:32 pm
After being halted for 10 days, the work on the strategic Rohtang Tunnel is underway after the Border Roads Organisation (BRO) obtained special permission from the Himachal Pradesh government to complete the construction on schedule despite the Covid-19 lockdown.
BRO officials said work in the tunnel was being executed with all necessary Covid-19 precautions to ensure its completion in September as planned.
The tunnel, which will be called Atal Tunnel after former Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee, is being constructed in the Pir Panjal range of Himachal Pradesh since the Manali-Sarchu-Leh road remains closed for six months in a year due to the Rohtang Pass being completely covered with snow between November and May.
BRO officials informed The Indian Express that the tunnel was in a critical stage of construction and road surface works, installation of electro-mechanic fittings, including lighting, ventilation and Intelligent Traffic Control Systems were being executed.
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One steel super structure bridge of 100-meter length across River Chandra on the North Portal of the tunnel is also under construction.
The nod to recommence work on the tunnel came after Lt Gen Harpal Singh, DG Border Roads, took up the matter with Chief Minister Jai Ram Thakur.
The tunnel will reduce the distance between Manali and Leh by 46 kilometres, and save crores of rupees in transport costs. It will also provide all-weather connectivity to remote border areas of Himachal Pradesh and Ladakh. The tunnel will also offer security forces a major strategic advantage.
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