“With the rising sun, there comes a new present”. These words depict the current image of our country. Living in the contemporary present, our country is developing faster than ever.
Talking more about the engineering side of this development, it’s usually a thing that makes anyone surprised. One of the engineering marvels in this list is the Atal Tunnel. The Atal tunnel, the Rohtang or Manali-Leh tunnel, is the world’s longest highway tunnel.
In its proposal phase, there were many motives behind this project. Being at a strategic location and at an altitude of 10000 feet, this was one of the most important projects in India. Moreover, constructing one was even heavier due to its location and importance. Therefore, many excavation equipment was hired in its construction.
Alongside, some hard phases came into constructing it. Therefore, today we’re going to learn more about this state-of-the-art engineering marvel. So, let’s get going.
Atal Tunnel Project’s History
This project was first proposed by our former prime minister Shri. Atal Bihari Vajpayee. This tunnel project held a very important motive of being a strategic tunnel that would be helpful during emergency transits.
After approval, the government decided to construct this mega infra on 3 June 2000. This project was proposed to be constructed below the Rohtang pass, with BRO gaining the responsibility in 2002.
Later on, Mrs Sonia Gandhi, on 28 June 2010, laid the foundation stone. Earlier, its name was the Rohtang tunnel due to its location. But later, its name changed to ATAL tunnel to honour our former PM Shri Atal Bihari Vajpayee.
It took almost 10 years to construct this tunnel. Moreover, our 14th Prime Minister, Shri Narendra Modi, inaugurated this infra on 3 October 2020. It was built almost at an altitude of 10000 feet in Rohtang.
How Does it Benefit the Border’s Infrastructure?
Its strategic location near the line of actual control (LAC) makes it highly beneficial. The onset of this tunnel lead to the development of the region, helped the army to commute, and brought many other opportunities. Here’s what specifically this tunnel helped with:
- Access to Improved Connectivity
One of the major benefits of the tunnel is its improved connectivity in the region. It mainly gives better connectivity to the Ladakh region and connects to Manali and Chandigarh.
This was not possible earlier due to the altitude and weather of the region. But thanks to this tunnel that brought hope to the people of the valley , who now can commute & connect to metro cities.
Moreover, this helps the farmers and the other daily living youth of the region. Through this tunnel, there will be better connectivity to the big cities, allowing the youth to find employment and earning opportunities.
- Less Travel Time and Distance
The Atal tunnel has made its motive a success by reducing the distance between the Manali and Leh regions by 46 km. In turn, this also reduced travel time by 4 to 5 hours.
As a result, making it a more comfortable ride for any individual by huge means. Overall, giving a boost to several sectors that require better road connectivity.
- Benefits to Armed Forces
The main motive behind the construction of this project was to create a situation where we stand at the level of eye-to-eye with China. With this rapidly improving infrastructure near the Indian border, we can now ensure our nation’s security.
As it is said, “Peace can only be determined when we kill the prospects of war”. Therefore, this tunnel benefits the armed forces by using this road to provide safe and rapid passage to the border areas. As a result, this will allow the army to easily access this road for delivering all the packages or supplies in situations of emergency.
This tunnel is also equipped with a public announcement system that alerts people in situations of emergency. Also, there is a safety feature that helps to save the public in avalanche situations.
- Boost in Tourism
By providing better connectivity to the most popular cities in the country, this tunnel enhances the scope of tourism.
Travellers can enjoy hassle free experience, as this tunnel has reduced the timing and distance by 4 to 5 hours and 46 km, respectively. This will lead to an increase in tourists, bringing more business and earning opportunities to the people of the valley region of Lahaul and Ladakh.
- Opening New Opportunities to the Valley for Trade Sector
The opening of the Atal Tunnel also marked the beginning of the region’s trade industry development.
Its improved connection cleared the door for greater prospects for local manufacturers and enterprises. This enabled company owners to show off their wares to a large audience.
In turn, not only did the region’s employment rate grow, but it also assisted many individuals in starting their own companies.
As a result, India was blessed with native items from the area, distributed across the nation and beyond the globe.
Finally, this tunnel has been a blessing to the country’s infrastructure. We must say, it was a difficult undertaking to fulfil with numerous difficulties. But, with the help of multiple excavating machinery and lifting heavy equipment, this idea became a reality.
Moreover, the region’s growth justifies all the efforts that were put behind. This project was a complete success as it met the vision of our former Prime Minister, Shri Atal Bihari Vajpayee.
This tunnel serves several benefits, which in turn, results in the growth of the region’s economic component.
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