Manali-Leh Rohtang Tunnel to open for traffic by September-end
Also called Atal Tunnel, the late Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee had announced this project on June 3, 2000.
The Rohtang Tunnel, which is being built at 3,000 metres above sea level, between Manali and Leh will be opened for traffic by September-end. The 8.8km strategic tunnel will shorten the 474km distance between Manali and Leh by 46km. The eight-hour long journey will be cut short by two and a half hours.
Also called Atal Tunnel, the late Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee had announced this project on June 3, 2000, said a report in the Hindustan Times. United Progressive Alliance (UPA) chairperson Sonia Gandhi laid the foundation stone for the tunnel in June 2010.
The report said the project has weathered geopolitical challenges which pushed the deadline, since the initial digging for the tunnel began in 2011.
The project was to be completed in February 2015, but water ingress from Seri Nullah, a ban on rock mining and delay in allotment of required land led to delays, the report said. Loose rock strata compounded the problem, the report highlighted.
Over 700 men were working in shifts to complete the tunnel. Proactive measures were taken, when the pandemic-enforced lockdown was imposed, to recommerce work in active coordination with the state government.
There was also a labour shortage as migrant workers from Bihar and Uttar Pradesh left for their homes, but later on workers were arranged from different parts of the state.