Sonia Gandhi lays foundation stone for Rohtang Tunnel

Manali: Congress president Sonia Gandhi today laid the foundation for an 8.8 Kilometer long tunnel that would pierce through hard Himalayan rock of the Pir Panjal range to connect Kullu valley with Lahaul under Rohtang Pass and provide an opportunity for an alternate security road to Ladhak.

The lady pressed a remote control button to bring into life a giant excavator, which symbolically started the boring operation on the south portal of the tunnel at Dhundi, 25 Kms from Manali.

Seeking the blessings of the gods, a plurality of priests consisting of Hindu, Christian, Muslim and Buddhist faiths held a prayer meeting before commencement of work.

The tunnel has a construction schedule spread over five years and three months and is expected to be completed by February 2015 at a cost of Rs 1495 crores.

Defence minister AK Antony, steel minister Virbhadra Singh and chief minister of Himachal Pradesh, Prem Kumar Dhumal were also present on the occasion.

Civilian and security forces have been demanding this tunnel for long so as to over the come the geographical obstacle of limited access of Lahaul valley from Manali because of the heavy snows on 13,050 feet high Rohtang Pass that snaps ties between the two valleys for over six months in a year.

A black granite plaque unveiled to mark the occasion read: “Foundation stone of the Rohtang Tunnel laid by Smt Sonia Gandhi Chairperson National Advisory Council on June 28, 2010.”

The horseshoe tunnel cross section with a width of 11.25 meters would provide for a two way traffic lane and have a semi-transverse ventilation system for ensuring healthy air circulation.

Addressing a public gathering near Manali, Sonia Gandhi said, “the tunnel will give a boost to tourism in the region, facilitate better access for medical treatment and provide more avenues of employment to the youth.”

The tunnel is being constructed under the aegis of Borders Roads Organisation (BRO) by STRABAG-AFCONS, a joint venture concern between India’s Afcons Infrastructure Ltd and Strabag SE of Austria, which is counted among the largest construction company’s in the world.

As Editor, Ravinder Makhaik leads a team of media professionals at Hill Post. Spanning a career of over two decades in mass communication, as a Documentary Filmmaker, TV journalist, Print Media journalist and with Online & Social Media, he brings with him a vast experience. He lives in Shimla.

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6 Comments

  1. says: robin dev

    we dont want tourism.. it corrupts our culture..
    we’ve seen wht has tourism done to most of the hill stations… nothings left of them but a concrete jungle.. also the younger genX is perishing into drugs.. i dont want that for my district “Lahaul and Spiti”..
    nevertheless i am totally for the rohtang tunnel just for national security reasons..
    i hope tourism is not the (only) “development” plan that Mr. Prem Kr. Dhumal or Smt Sonia Gandhi can think of..

    1. says: nimish

      It’s true that tourism has forced on to local culture, but you cant blame tourism to making something in kiosk ….
      U can see in Manali and Shmla and even other un popular places in Himachal which has generated employement in Himachal. …
      Ask those who are gettting food from this industry…. u cant blame as you are not in the game…
      This has given more oppurtunity to our youngsters to be there in Himchal and have thier livelihood…
      But yes it has given some problems also. … need to concentrate on proper channels… Very happy to see about above tunnel news …
      But there was construction regarding some tunnel at Manali to Leh earlier also was that the same or different ????
      I saw that place in 2009….

  2. says: Saurabh Bhakri

    Coming up of a proposed tunnel no doubt will be a milestone taking into view our country’s security aspect in reference to various views and reasons expressed by experts, and in general. At the behest of tourism only, we cannot take allow to ruin the heritage, the rich nature the State is gifted with.. Much damage has already been done .. and it is first hand views from people like Robin Dev who belong to the region and who are witness to all that has happened to the surroundings .. that should be quite be taken into view … as regards the ground realities are concerned .. Here is wishing for the very best to the first of its kind project in the state.

  3. says: Rajneesh

    Culture will generate employment? Today life is changing fast and everything is mixing into everything else..culture, food, traditions…education..we exist in an interdependent world where adapting towards new changes is the only way..tunnel will bring many fine things..first of all , year around connectivity to the residents of Lahaul & Spiti…If the culture has strong values..or faith of people then no one can destroy it, if its a cosmetic drapery then no one can save it !

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