Sonia launches tunnel work | india | Hindustan Times
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Sonia launches tunnel work

UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi on Monday launched the building of an 8.8 km long tunnel that will connect Manali in Himachal Pradesh with the Ladakh region of J&K. Gaurav Bisht

india Updated: Jun 28, 2010 23:24 IST
Gaurav Bisht

UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi on Monday launched the building of an 8.8 km long tunnel that will connect Manali in Himachal Pradesh with the Ladakh region of J&K.

The project is the brainchild of former prime minister Rajiv Gandhi, who had got a feasibility study done in 1987.

Once completed in 2015, the Rs 1,445-crore tunnel, the longest in India, will provide a safe round-the-year access to the Lahaul and Spiti valleys in Himachal Pradesh, which remain cut off from the rest of the country during winter and also to Ladakh.

The other road link to Ladakh goes through the Zoji La Pass on the Srinagar-Kargil-Leh highway, which is close to the line of control and, hence, vulnerable to Pakistani military intervention.

UPA government was continuing to focus on development of border areas, Sonia Gandhi, said Monday after kick starting the work on strategically significant Rohtang tunnel.

She said: "Our government is committed towards the development of the border areas and for the welfare of people living there."

The tunnel, being built by the Border Roads Organisation, will reduce the 475 km distance between Manali and Leh by 46 km. It is expected to cater to 3,000 cars and 1,500 trucks a day.