Prime Minister Narendra Modi will inaugurate the world’s longest highway tunnel, Atal tunnel at Rohtang in Himachal Pradesh today. The tunnel is built with ultra-modern specifications in the Pir Panjal range of Himalayas at an altitude of 10,000 feet from the Mean Sea Level.
The 9.02 Km long tunnel connects Manali to Lahaul-Spiti valley throughout the year. Earlier the valley was cut off for about six months each year due to heavy snowfall.
Defence Minister Rajnath Singh will also be present on the occasion. During his day-long visit, the Prime Minister will address two public gatherings, besides inspection of the escape egress tunnel. Our correspondent reports that the state government has made arrangements to broadcast the live telecast of the programme so that it can reach every part of the state.
Since morning, a large number of people have started arriving in their traditional attire to see and listen to Prime Minister Narendra Modi. A lot of enthusiasm can be seen among the locals about the inauguration of the tunnel. Elaborate security arrangements have been made in view of the Prime Minister’s visit.
He will arrive at the south portal of the tunnel at Manali around 10 am where he will unveil the plaque to mark the inauguration of Atal Tunnel. He will also drive through the Atal tunnel to Sishu the north portal of the tunnel in Lahaul-Spiti from where he will flag off the HRTC bus from the north to south portal through the tunnel towards Manali.
During his short stay, the Prime Minister will address two public gatherings, one at Solang at Manali in Kullu district and another at Sishu in Lahaul-Spiti.
Besides this, he will also interact with the construction team and officials of BRO. In view of ongoing corona crises and to observe physical distancing not more than 200 people will be allowed to attend each event. The state government has installed LED screens at district headquarters and other places so that people can watch the live broadcast of the inauguration of the historic Atal tunnel from Rohtang.
Meanwhile, Steel Authority of India Limited (SAIL) has supplied the majority portion of steel in the construction of the Atal Rohtang Tunnel, which will be inaugurated by Prime Minister Narendra Modi today. SAIL has supplied more than nine thousand tonnes of steel, out of the 15 thousand tonnes of steel used in the entire project.
Steel Minister Dharmendra Pradhan has complimented SAIL and said, this tunnel will be of great significance to the locals as well as for strategic movements. The Minister said it will boost connectivity of the Spiti Valley. An all-weather tunnel, Atal Tunnel will connect Manali to Lahaul and Spiti Valley in Himachal Pradesh throughout the year.