Chandigarh [India], October 3 (ANI): Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Saturday morning arrived at the Chandigarh International Airport as he is scheduled to inaugurate the Atal Tunnel at Rohtang in Himachal Pradesh.
The inaugration ceremony will take place at 10 am today.
After inaugurating the tunnel, the Prime Minister will address a public gathering at Sissu, Lahaul Valley.
The Atal Tunnel, at 9.02 km is the longest highway tunnel in the world, connects Manali to Lahaul-Spiti Valley and will ensure movement throughout the year. Earlier, the Valley was cut off for about six months each year owing to heavy snowfall. The tunnel reduces the road distance by 46 kilometres between Manali and Leh and the time by about four to five hours.
The tunnel is built with ultra-modern specifications in the Pir Panjal range of Himalayas at an altitude of 3,000 metres (10,000 feet) from the Mean Sea Level (MSL).
"Fulfilling Atal Ji's dream of top quality infrastructure. Will be in Himachal Pradesh tomorrow to dedicate the #AtalTunnel in Rohtang to the nation. This is an iconic infrastructure project built at a height of 10,000 feet," Modi had tweeted on Friday.
"The #AtalTunnel will solve a major problem of connectivity in the region. It has several salient features and will further 'Ease of Living' for local citizens. Will also join public programmes in Sissu in Lahaul Spiti and at Solang Valley," he said in another tweet.
The South Portal (SP) of Atal Tunnel is located at a distance of 25 km from Manali at an altitude of 3,060 metres, while the North Portal (NP) of the tunnel is located near village Teling, Sissu, in Lahaul Valley at an altitude of 3,071 metres.
It is a horseshoe-shaped, single tube double lane tunnel with a roadway of eight metres. It has an overhead clearance of 5.525 metres. Also, it is 10.5-metre wide and has a 3.6 x 2.25 metres fire-proof emergency egress tunnel built into the main tunnel itself.
Speaking about it, KP Purushothaman, Chief Engineer, Border Roads Organisation (BRO) said the hard work by BRO in these many years had paid off and it is a very "proud moment" for everyone.
"This is a very proud moment not only for BRO but for the whole country. The hard work put in by BRO in the last 10 years is reaching the final stage. This tunnel is an example of Atmanirbhar Bharat," Purushothaman had told ANI.
"This is a very proud moment not only for BRO but for the whole country. The hard work put in by BRO in the last 10 years is reaching the final stage. This tunnel is an example of Atmanirbhar Bharat," he had added. (ANI)