Atal Tunnel, the longest Highway tunnel in the world located in Himalaya’s Pir Panjal range, was inaugurated by Prime Minister Narendra Modi. It connects Manali in Himachal Pradesh to Lahaul-Spiti valley. The 9.02 km long Atal Tunnel will keep both these locations connected throughout the year. Earlier due to heavy snowfall, the valley used to be cut off each year for over six months. The tunnel situated at 3000 mtrs altitude from sea level also reduces the distance between Manali and Leh by 46 Kms resulting in a reduction of travel time by 4-5 hours.
Atal Tunnel is also equipped with safety features and electromechanical systems which include SCADA controlled illumination, fire fighting, and monitoring systems. Atal Tunnel would also reduce the distance between Keylong and Manali by 3-4 hours.
The Prime Minister mentioned the day as historic and said that Atal Tunnel will strengthen the country’s border infrastructure and enhance connectivity. He added that the border infrastructure including bridges, roads, or tunnels are being developed with great speed in the last six years. Modi said reforms like the relaxation of FDI in defence manufacturing have been made to produce modern ammunition and weapons in the country. He said Atal Tunnel is a shining example of the country’s determination to become Aatma Nirbhar (self-reliant).