Shimila: The construction work on ambitious 8.80 kms, long Rohtang Tunnel, will be starting from June this year and is expected to be completed by February, 2015. This was revealed by Prof. Prem Kumar Dhumal, Chief Minister in a meeting with Shri P.K. Mahajan, Chief Engineer, Rohtang Tunnel Project of Border Roads Organization held here today.
Chief Minister said that it was a dream project of former Prime Minister, Shri Atal Behari Vajpayee who had sanctioned the project to the people of tribal valley of Lahaul keeping in view the fact that they remained cut off from rest of the world due to snowfall and closure of passes. He said that it was on his direction that the survey for construction of the tunnel was conducted and detailed project report prepared by the executing authorities. He said that total project cost had been estimated at Rs. 1,458 crore. He said that during early and late winter months the State Government had been taking extra care to ensure safety of the travellers, crossing Rohtang Pass(13050 ft) on foot by establishing rescue posts on both sides of the pass. He said that the State Government had been providing helicopter service to airlift the residents of the tribal areas upto Killar in Pangi of district Chamba when all other communication links were non-operational. He said that the proposed tunnel project would not only connect the cut-off valley with round the year connectivity but also reduce travelling distance and time, substantially.
Prof. Dhumal said that Kullu-Manali Valley was universally acknowledged as the best tourist destination where large number of visitors throng the place round the year. He said that with the construction of the tunnel, tourists would be able to travel further into so far virgin valley of Lahaul. He said that it was bound to give boost to tourism activities in the valley and generate employment and self-employment avenues to the local youth. He said that it would also reduce distance by 46 kms. between Manali and Keylong.
Chief Minister appreciated the challenging road construction work being undertaken by Border Roads Organisation in tribal and difficult areas of the State, which indeed was a herculean task. He said that the most difficult roads Manali-Leh and Hindustan Tibet Road were being maintained by the Border Roads organization and two more traffic tunnels had also been proposed to be constructed one on Darcha-Shinkola road in Lahaul valley and other is Dhadra Dhank tunnel on Hindustan Tibet Road. He said that with the construction of two more tunnels the communication network in the tribal areas would get strengthened further and would be requiring less of maintenance operations. He directed the authorities to extend all cooperation to the executing agencies engaged in construction work of Rohtang Tunnel and complete all formalities on priority so that the execution could be started in month of June this year.
Shri P.K.Mahajan, Chief Engineer, Rohtang Tunnel Project, apprised the Chief Minister of the preparations being made to adhere to the scheduled date of June to start the project construction. He said that latest machinery would be used for tunnel boring work and 8.80 kms. long tunnel project would be completed by February, 2015. He informed the Chief Minister that two more tunnels had been proposed to be constructed in the State on Hindustan Tibet Road and on Darcha-Shinkola road. He thanked the Chief Minister for extending cooperation to the Project authorities from the local administration. He assured the Chief Minister that the project work would start in time and completed by targeted date.
Shri A.K.Gulati, Principal Chief Conservator of Forests and Dr. Arun Sharma, Special Secretary (Monitoring) to the Chief Minister, was also present in the meeting.
Later Shri P.K. Mahajan , Chief Engineer Rohtang Project of BRO called on Thakur Gulab Singh, Public Works Minister. He apprised the PWD Minister that the mobilization of machinery has been started for the construction of Rohtang tunnel.
Public Works Minister said that with the completion of the project, Kullu, Manali and Lahaul Valley would get year round access from both sides. He said that on completion of Tunnel the distance to Keylong would be reduced by 46 Kms, and would also be beneficial for the socio-economic development of the State, especially of Lahaul Valley. Brig. Retd. Kushal Thakur was also present on the occasion.