2nd May 2021


The Atal Tunnel of Himachal Pradesh - The World’s Largest Tunnel

In Himachal Pradesh, the world’s longest highway tunnel has opened which will reduce the distance between Manali and Leh by over 46 km. It is named after the former Prime Minister of India, Atal Bihari Vajpayee.

The honourable Prime Minister of India, Narendra Modi inaugurated the Atal Tunnel in Himachal Pradesh's Rohtang. It will connect Solang Valley near Manali to Sissu in Lahaul and Spiti district, in leh. Our resort in Himachal Pradesh is a few hours drive away from the Atal Tunnel. You can rejuvenate yourself at our resort in Himachal Pradesh for the night and then drive early in the morning to visit the Atal tunnel.

It is a 9.02 kilometer long tunnel. It connects Manali to Lahaul-Spiti valley throughout the year despite rainfall and snowfall outside the tunnel. Before that, the valley was cut off for around 6 months every year because of heavy snowfall in the region.

It is built with ultra-modern specifications in the Pir Panjal range of Himalayas at an altitude of 3000 Meters (10,000 Feet) from the Mean Sea Level (MSL).

The tunnel cuts through a mountain west of the beautiful Rohtang pass and will shorten the distance between Solang Valley and Sissu.

Significance of the Atal Tunnel -

The tunnel reduces the road distance by 46 Kilometers between Manali and Leh and the time by about 4 to 5 hours. A journey from Manali to Lahaul and Spiti Valley would now be covered in a little over 15 minutes contrary to the huge time taken before the tunnel was built.

It has state of the art electromechanical systems including semi transverse ventilation, SCADA controlled fire fighting, illumination and monitoring systems showing India’s advancement in the fields of engineering and technology.

It would provide connectivity all throughout the year. The Atal Tunnel is the first step towards providing all year connectivity to Ladakh. It has the potential to link Ladakh to Manali and Chandigarh throughout the year because it would bypass the Rohtang Pass, which is covered with snow in the months of winter.
Strategic Importance - The Atal Tunnel will also provide a strategic benefit to the country's strong armed forces. As it provides year-long connectivity to the border areas, not only will it save the whole day for troops and supplies as they move towards forwarding posts, it would also give them connectivity to the border areas all throughout the year.

The essential commodities like petrol and vegetable supplies would also likely be available throughout the year.

The Atal Tunnel as it can be seen from inside.

Image credit: Industry Tap

The farmers, horticulturalists, and youth will now also have easy access to the capital of Delhi and other markets of other towns and cities. It benefits farmers as now their precious crops like peas and potatoes will no longer rot in trucks before reaching the market which is a huge benefit.

The Atal tunnel will enhance tourism. The tunnel will enhance tourism as well as the livelihoods in the tourism sector of the residents in Lahaul Valley and Ladakh would increase due to this.

Other features of the Atal Tunnel - Various safety features are there in the tunnel including telephone connections at every 150 metres for emergency communication, fire hydrant mechanisms at every 60 Metres, auto incident detection system with CCTV cameras at every 250 metres, emergency exit every 500 m, air quality monitoring at every 1 Kilometer, evacuation lighting and exit signs and broadcasting system throughout the tunnel among others. It is a state of the art modern tunnel.

In the Atal tunnel, BSNL has installed three 4G base transceiver stations (BTSs) for full 4G connectivity, which is also an incredible feature considering that you will not lose your 4G internet connectivity inside the tunnel. Our resort in Himachal Pradesh also has many amenities and great food.

Background of the Atal Tunnel -

The former Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee laid the foundation stone for the approach road of this tunnel in 2002 and after his government was gone, it seemed that work on this tunnel was long forgotten. The situation was that till 2013-2014, the work done on the tunnel was only up to 1,300 metres which was only 1.5 kilometers. According to the experts, if the work on the tunnel continued at the same pace then it would have been completed in 2040 said, Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
He further stated that an "unprecedented pace was given to the project and that every problem faced by the BRO was resolved. The result was that while earlier three hundred metre tunnel work was being accomplished every year, it reached fourteen hundred metres a year and in six years, we completed the work of 26 years,” after 2014.

The Union Cabinet decided to name the tunnel as ‘Atal Tunnel’ to honour former Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee for his contributions, in the year 2019. The decision was taken in 2000 when he was the Prime Minister and the foundation stone was laid by UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi on June 28, 2010.
The Prime Minister added that to match the rising global stature of India, the country has to improve its infrastructure, its economic and strategic potential at the same incredible speed. The Atal Tunnel is a shining example of the country’s resolve to become ‘Aatma Nirbhar’ which means ‘Self Reliant’.

Header Image Credit: The Tribune

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