Atal tunnel will give new strength to India's border infrastructure: PM Modi
New Delhi, Oct 03: Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Saturday inaugurated the much awaited Atal Tunnel, which will cut down the distance between Leh and Manali by 46km and the travel time by four to five hours, in Himachal Pradesh's Rohtang.
Atal Tunnel, named after former prime minister Atal Bihar Vajpayee, reduces the road distance by 46km between Manali and Leh and the travel time by about four to five hours. The tunnel has been built with ultra-modern specifications in the Pir Panjal Range of the Himalayas at an altitude of 3,000 metres from the mean sea level.
"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," PM Modi said.
Earlier, speaking to reporters, Himachal Pradesh chief minister Jairam Thakur said, "We have made all preparations and we are waiting for the Prime Minister. It's a moment of joy for the people of Himachal Pradesh. This is a historical moment."
"The tunnel holds great significance in the light of the situation with neighbouring countries and added that it is not only significant from a national security point of view but also be very helpful for the commute of the people," Thakur added.
"Around 200 people will be present at the event. Prime Minister is sending out a message that how close Himachal is to his heart. He is appearing physically for a development project. We wanted a huge inauguration event. However, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, only a small event is being organised. The tunnel will also send a strong message for a border security point of view," he added.
On Friday, defence minister Rajnath Singh visited the Atal Tunnel along with Thakur and reviewed the preparations for the inaugural function of Atal Tunnel.