Rohtang tunnel, one of India’s most ambitious projects, likely to open in September; PM Modi to inaugurate

The Rohtang tunnel has been named after former prime minister late Atal Bihari Vajpayee. It was Vajpayee who had laid the foundation stone for the ambitious project in 2003.

Shimla: The strategic Rohtang tunnel, which has been named after former prime minister late Atal Bihari Vajpayee, is likely to be inaugurated in September. Himachal Pradesh Chief Minister Jai Ram Thakur informed on Thursday that the tunnel will be inaugurated by Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

Rohtang tunnel Atal Tunnel Himachal PradeshWork underway on Rohtang tunnel in Himachal PradeshPhoto Credit: ANI
The work on the Atal Tunnel is said to be completed by August-end and it will be dedicated to the nation by the PM likely in September. CM Thakur made the announcement while addressing an event at Sissu in Lahaul-Spiti district of the state.

State Agriculture Minister Ram Lal Markanda said on the occasion that the Atal Tunnel would help attract tourists in greater numbers to the Lahaul Valley, while also generating employment for the locals and the youth in Himachal Pradesh. The tunnel aims to provide all-weather connectivity to the landlocked Lahaul-Spiti district.

The Union government had announced on December 24 last year that the Rohtang tunnel, which connects Kullu with the landlocked Lahaul Valley, would be named after Vajpayee.

It was former PM Vajpayee who had laid the foundation stone for the ambitious project in 2003.

Strategic advantage

The 8.80-km horseshoe-shaped tunnel is being built by the Border Roads Organisation (BRO), which constructs and maintains crucial road links along international borders of the country. The Atal Tunnel is being built beneath the Rohtang Pass.

The Rohtang tunnel is one of the most ambitious and expensive projects of its kind that have been taken up in India. The excavation work was completed in October 2017, and electrical and ventilation works is currently in progress at the tunnel.

The work on the tunnel had restarted in May after remaining stopped for some days due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The BRO had obtained special permission from the Himachal Pradesh government to resume work on the crucial tunnel.

Once completed, the tunnel will help facilitate easy movement of people as the Manali-Sarchu-Leh road remains shut to traffic for around six months as the Rohtang Pass remains covered in snow between November and May