'Undemocratic and illegal': Foundation stone laid by Sonia Gandhi 'missing' from Atal Tunnel
Manali, Oct 13: Congress in Himachal Pradesh has threatened state-wide agitation after the foundation stone laid by Sonia Gandhi at the Atal Tunnel allegedly went missing.
Congress leaders in the state have alleged that the foundation stone bearing Sonia's name was removed from the tunnel ahead of its inauguration.
The strategically-important Atal Tunnel, that connects Manali to the Lahaul-Spiti valley and reduces travel time to Leh in Ladakh by up to five hours, was inaugurated by Prime Minister Narendra Modi on October 3.
The Congress said Sonia Gandhi had laid the foundation stone for the Rohtang Tunnel project at the south portal on June 28, 2010, at Dhoondi in Manali.
Himachal Pradesh Congress chief Kuldeep Singh Rathore said a complaint regarding the plaque being removed has been sent to Chief Minister Jairam Thakur and the State Director General of Police.
"If the missing foundation stone is not re-installed, Congress will hold a state-wide agitation against the government," Rathore wrote in the letter.
"This (removing the stone) is an undemocratic, unconventional and illegal step ever," Rathore added in the letter.
Two Congress party leaders Gialchhen Thakur and Hari Chand Sharma have filed a police case in Keylong and Manali seeking investigations into how the foundation stone went missing.
Described as the longest highway construction of its kind in the world, the 9.02 km-long Atal Tunnel is built to "ultra-modern specifications" at an altitude of 3,000 metres (10,000 feet) in the Pir Panjal range of Himalayas.
The decision to construct a strategic tunnel below the Rohtang Pass in Himachal was taken on June 3, 2000, when
was prime minister. The Union Cabinet decided in 2019 to name the Rohtang Tunnel as Atal Tunnel to honour the contribution made by the former prime minister.