Rohtang Tunnel was bound to transform the economy of landlocked Lahaul Spiti district by providing all weather connectivity to this beautiful valley.This was stated by the Chief Minister Jai Ram Thakur after he crossed over to Shisu in Lahaul Spiti through Rohtang Tunnel from South side from DHUNDI in Kullu district today.He also reviewed the progress of work with the senior officers of the Border Road Organisation and Strabag AG Afcons JV Company executing this ambitious project of national importance.People of Lahaul valley led by Agriculture and Information Technology Minister Dr. Ram Lal Markanda welcomed the Chief Minister in traditional manner on the other side of the tunnel at Shisu.Jai Ram Thakur said that foundation stone of this ambitious project was also laid by the then Prime Minister of India Atal Behari Vajpayee and the Prime Minister Narendra Modi was keen that this project was dedicated to the nation at the earliest.He said that the Union Minister of Surface Transport Nitin Gadkari was to visit Rohtang to review the progress in the work of this tunnel, but due to bad weather he could not reach here. He said that the total cost of this 9 kms. Tunnel Project was Rs. 4083 crore. He said that the biggest hinderance in construction of this tunnel was managing of Seri Nallah in between the tunnel. Only this stretch of about 600 metres took about four years, he added.
He said that the tunnel would not only provide all weather connectivity to the Lahaul valley but also open the valley for the tourists and provide them opportunity to enjoy the serene beauty of Lahaul and Spiti district. He said that the tunnel was also of strategic importance as it would provide all weather road connectivity upto Leh Ladakh bordering China.This tunnel was a scientific marvel and on completion would attract tourists from all over the world.He said that this ambitious project would be completed by November next year.Jai Ram Thakur said that the State Government would make efforts to associate the Rohtang Tunnel with tourism. This would provide ample opportunities of employment and self employment to the local youth of the area. He said that the Union Government was contemplating to construct three more tunnels on this road upto Leh so that this road of strategic importance could be strengthened and distance upto Leh Ladakh would be reduced by about 100 kms. and traveling distance by about seven hours.The Chief Minister said that the State Government has succeeded to get developmental projects about Rs. 6000 crore approved from the Central Government for the State. He said that the State Government was giving special impetus to development of tribal areas and welfare of people residing in these areas.He announced that the Yangla bridge would be constructed at the earliest. He said that for the first time tribal areas of the State were being covered under JICA project.
Earlier the Chief Minister visited Snow and Avalanche Study Establishment (SASE) at Manali.Agriculture Minister Dr Ram Lal Markanda welcomed the Chief Minister and other dignitaries present on the occasion.He said that it was a momentous occasion for the people of the Lahaul valley that the Chief Minister has visited the Lahaul valley and the ambitious tunnel which was nearing completion. He also thanked the Chief Minster for enhancing the budget for tribal development.He apprised the Chief Minister regarding the developmental demands the area. He urged for construction of bridge to facilitate the people of Yangla village.Member of Parliament Ram Swaroop Sharma said that the Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Chief Minister Jai Ram Thakur were committed for the development of the tribal areas of the State. He said that Prime Minister was very keen for early completion of the Rohtang tunnel as it would not only provide all weather connectivity to the valley but it was of strategic importance.Later, the Chief Minister inspected Manali helipad and discussed with the senior officers the scope for further expansion of the helipad from tourism point of view.Transport and Forest Minister Govind Thakur, MLA Kishori Lal, District BJP Chief Rajinder Bodh, Additional Chief Secretaries Dr. Shrikant Baldi, Ram Subhag Singh, Manisha Nanda and Anil Khachi, Additional Principal Secretary to the Chief Minister Sanjay Kundu, Deputy Commissioners of Kullu and Lahaul and Spiti districts were also present on the occasion among others.