3rd Oct: World’s longest tunnel above 10,000 feet sea level in Himachal Pradesh has been inaugurated by PM Narendra Modi today. The tunnel will reduce the distance between Manali and Leh by 46 km.

The tunnel, now Atal Tunnel is also known as Rohtang Tunnel. In 1983 this project was conceived when former Prime Minister Nehru and local tribes had a discussion about building a rope way to Rohtang Pass.  After years of its first mention Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee went to Lahaul in 2000 and declared that the Rohtang Tunnel would be constructed.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi renamed the tunnel as Atal Tunnel, in honor of Atal Vajpayee, on 25 December 2019, Vajpayee’s birthday.

Currently, the area remains cut off for about 6 months each year owing to heavy snowfall and inclement weather. The 9.02 kilometers long engineering marvel connects Manali in Himachal Pradesh to Lahaul-Spiti throughout the year. The Atal tunnel has huge strategic significance as it will greatly assist in the movement of armed forces.

“I request the Ministry of Education that the students of engineering & technical studies related universities should be given a chance to do a case study of Atal Tunnel. The students must learn how this tunnel was built,” said PM Modi at the inauguration of Atal Tunnel, Rohtang.

It is a horseshoe-shaped, single tube double lane tunnel with a roadway of eight meters. It has an overhead clearance of 5.525 meters. Atal Tunnel has been designed for traffic density of 3,000 cars per day and 1,500 trucks per day with a max speed of 80 km/hr.

PM Modi said “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 planning stage or got stuck midway.”

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