Himachal Pradesh Chief Minister Jai Ram Thakur on Thursday said Rohtang Tunnel which is named after former Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee, would become operational by September this year.

“Atal tunnel would be completed by the end of August this year and Prime Minister Narendra Modi would dedicate this project to the nation probably during the month of September,” he said while addressing the people at Sissu in Lahaul Spiti district.

It is worthwhile to mention here that the Rohtang Tunnel, once operational, would provide round the year connectivity to tribal people of Lahaul Spiti, who otherwise remain cut off from the rest of the world owing to heavy snowfall at Rohtang Pass.

The Chief Minister appreciated the people of Lahaul Spiti for effectively tackling the novel Coronavirus pandemic and urged the people of the district to keep up the good work going on as this crisis was not yet over.

“The country was fortunate to have an able and strong leadership in the form of Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

The number of deaths due to COVID-19 in the fifteen most developed countries with a population of 142 crore was about five lakh whereas in India having a population of 135 crore, about 17,000 had lost life due to COVID-19 till date,” he added.

Thakur said the situation in the state was quite under control and there was a sharp increase in corona patients in Himachal as over two lakh people stranded in different parts of the country were brought back to the state.

He called on the people of the state to not worry as the state government was fully aware of the situation.

The Chief Minister assured the people of the area that the state government would ensure adequate availability of funds for developmental works.

“Since the working period was limited, therefore efforts must be made for time bound completion of various developmental projects in the area,” he added.

Thakur also held a meeting with the senior officers of Border Road Organisation (BRO) at Project Headquarter of Atal Tunnel, Manali in Kullu district.

He directed them for ensuring time bound completion of the ambitious Atal Tunnel project which would connect the landlocked hinterland Lahaul-Spiti in all weather with the rest of the World.

“PM Modi has keen interest in early completion of this mega project which is not only important from strategic point of view but would also prove boon to the people of the Lahaul Spiti district,” he said, adding the project would cost Rs 3500 crore.

Thakur added the total length of this tunnel is about 9 kilometers and would shorten the distance by 46 kilometres to the tribal district.

“The tunnel is an engineering marvel and would be a major attraction to tourists. The tunnel would have telephone facilities at every 150 meter, fire hydrants, emergency exit, air quality monitoring mechanism, broadcasting system, automatic incident detection system with CCTV cameras etc,” he added.

Thakur added the tunnel once dedicated to the nation would ensure better and all weather connectivity to border areas of Ladakh and Kargil.