Shimla, July 2 (IANS) Prime Minister Narendra Modi is likely to inaugurate the strategic Rohtang tunnel named after the late Atal Bihari Vajpayee in September, Himachal Pradesh Chief Minister Jai Ram Thakur said on Thursday.
He said the Atal Tunnel would be completed by the end of next month and the Prime Minister would dedicate it to the nation probably in September. The Chief Minister was addressing the people at Sissu in Lahaul-Spiti district.
Thakur also appreciated the local people for effectively tackling the coronavirus pandemic.
He said the situation in Himachal was quite under control now, adding that there was a sharp increase in the number of cases in the state after over two lakh people stranded in different parts of the country were brought back to the state.
Agriculture Minister Ram Lal Markanda said the Atal Tunnel would open new vistas of tourism in the Lahaul Valley, besides generating employment avenues for the youth.
On the eve of the birth anniversary of former Prime Minister late Atal Bihari Vajpayee, the Central government on December 24, 2019 had announced to name the Rohtang tunnel, a road link between Kullu and the landlocked Lahaul Valley, after Vajpayee.
The Union government had acceded to the request of the state to rename the tunnel as a mark of respect to the late BJP stalwart, who had laid the foundation stone for the tunnel in 2003.
The tunnel would not only provide all-weather connectivity to the landlocked Lahaul-Spiti, but will also attract tourists to the district.
The Border Roads Organisation (BRO), a wing of the Central government that constructs and maintains crucial road links along international borders, has been tasked with the construction of the 8.80 km horseshoe shaped tunnel which lies beneath the Rohtang Pass.
The most ambitious and expensive undertaking of its kind, the excavation of the tunnel was completed in October 2017. Now the electrical and ventilation works are in progress.