Atal Tunnel

The Atal Tunnel in Rohtang, Himachal Pradesh, India is the World’s longest highway tunnel. It is constructed at an altitude of 3000 meters and is about 9.02 kilometers long, connecting Solang Valley near Manali to Sissu in Lahaul and Spiti district. 

It was inaugurated by the Prime Minister, Mr. Narendra Modi on October 3, 2020, in the presence of Rajnath Singh (Minister of Defence), Jai Ram Thakur (CM of Himachal Pradesh), and Anurag Thakur (Minister of State for Finance).

The basic information regarding the Atal Tunnel has been given below in the table:

Atal Tunnel – All You Need To Know
Project Name Atal Tunnel
Location Rohtang, Himachal Pradesh
Inaugurated On October 3, 2020
Inaugurated By Mr. Narendra Modi
Lenght of the Tunnel 9.02 km
Altitude 3000m above Mean Sea Level
Connection Between Solang Valley near Manali to Sissu in Lahaul and Spiti district
Special Feature World’s longest highway tunnel
Constructive Feature Horseshoe-shaped, single tube & double lane
Project Cost Over Rs. 2500 crore
Constructed by  Borders Road Organisation (BRO)

Ever since its inauguration, the Atal Tunnel has been in news, which makes it an important topic from the competitive examination point of view. 

The Atal Tunnel is essentially important for candidates preparing for UPSC or other Government exams. In this article, we shall discuss in detail the major aspects of the Tunnel, along with its structural and geographical features. A brief history regarding its development has also been given. 

UPSC Aspirants can start their preparation now and refer to the following links and get the latest and updated information:

Features of Atal Tunnel

The tunnel has been named after a former Indian Prime Minister, Atal Bihari Vajpayee. Given below are the various features of the Atal Tunnel:

  • It is constructed by Border Roads Organisation (BRO)
  • It connects Manali to Lahaul Spiti valley through the 9.02 km tunnel, located at an altitude of 3000 meters
  • The tunnel shall remain functional throughout the year
  • The south portal of the Atal Tunnel is located at a distance of 25 km from Manali. Whereas, the north portal is at an altitude of 3071m, near village Teling, Sissu, in Lahaul Valley
  • It has a semi-transverse ventilation system
  • It has a 3.6 x 2.25 meters fire-proof emergency egress tunnel, which is built into the main tunnel itself. A total of 18 egresses are present in the tunnel, comprising an emergy exit path after every 500 meters
  • The Atal Tunnel is constructed with a traffic density of approximately 1500 trucks and 3000 cars per day
  • There are fire hydrants after every 60 meters, CCTV cameras at every 250 meters, telephone communications at every 150 meters
  • Apart from all this, there are evacuation lights throughout the length of the Tunnel

The Atal Tunnel can be signified as a mark of great achievement in the field of Infrastructure in India, with its advanced features and safety measures.

Related Links
List of Major National Highways in India National Highways Authority of India (NHAI)
New Financing Model for Highway Projects Bharatmala Pariyojana
Road Safety and Motor Vehicles Amendment Bill 2019  One Belt One Road (OBOR)

Benefits of Atal Tunnel

  • Because of heavy snow, the interconnecting path between Manali and Leh could not be used for almost 6 months of the year. This problem has been resolved by the construction of the Atal Tunnel. Now, using this tunnel, traveling will be possible throughout the year
  • The biggest advantage of this tunnel is that it will help the armed forces to have easy connectivity to all the border areas around
  • The transportation of troops and supplies will become more convenient for the Army Personnel
  • The entire route of the tunnel will reduce the distance between Leh and Manali by 46 km and reduce the travel time by 4 hours
  • Easy access to medication and basic necessities will be improved. People who had to earlier travel miles will now be able to get all commodities easily as transportation will become easy
  • A lot of economic benefits are provided to Leh and Ladakh through tourism. Thus, the Atal Tunnel will also prove helpful for tourists traveling to these areas
  • Another remarkable significance of the Atal Tunnel is that it will ensure that farmers are able to supply the vegetables and crops on time, without any effect on the quality of the crops

The significance of the Atal Tunnel can be observed in different fields and for different sectors of people. Thus, this will promote and improve the geographical and infrastructural growth of the Indian mountainous region.

Other Related Links
Sundar Committee on Road Safety and Traffic Management National Investment and Infrastructure Fund (NIIF)
Topic-Wise GS 3 Questions for UPSC Mains Previous Years Governance Questions in UPSC Mains General Studies Paper 2
Previous Years Science and Technology Questions in UPSC Mains General Studies Paper – 3 Latest Government Schemes in India

History and Development of Atal Tunnel

Although inaugurated in 2020, the announcement and foundation for the tunnel were made almost two decades back.

  • The initial announcement to create such a tunnel was made by Late Atal Bihari Vajpayee on June 3, 2000
  • The responsibility to complete the construction was handed over to the Border Roads Organisation (BRO) in 2002
  • But due to the increasing cost of the project, from Rs.400 crore to Rs.900 crore, the project had been brought to a standstill
  • Later, in 2010, the UPA Chairperson, Sonia Gandhi, had laid the foundation of this project in Solang Valley, near Manali
  • Gradually the digging up process began for the tunnel and only emergy services were allowed through the route
  • By September 2020, the entire construction was complete, and finally, on October 3, 2020, the project was inaugurated

It took decades to complete the project but today, it has opened a better path for Armed forces, farmers, and tourism. And with exceptional safety features, it has given a new perspective to the Indian infrastructure and road safety. 

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