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STRATEGIC IMPORTANCE OF ATAL TUNNEL AT ROHTANG

Focus: GS-I Geography

Introduction

  • The Atal Tunnel at Rohtang, near Manali, is almost complete in all respects and the approx. 9-km-long tunnel under the Pir Panjal range, named after former Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee, will be the world’s longest highway tunnel above the altitude of 10,000 feet (3000 metres).
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What were the problems faced by the Rohtang tunnel project?

  • The construction teams faced fast flowing water from Seri Nullah, which flowed on top of the tunnel route and impeded construction efforts.
  • The sheer volume of water prevented construction for several months while project engineers grappled with a way to tackle the problem.
  • The rock structures faced by the engineers too caused impediments.

What is the strategic advantage of the Rohtang tunnel?

  • Cutting through the Pir Panjal range, the tunnel will reduce the distance between Manali and Leh by 46 km.
  • The Rohtang Pass, to which the tunnel provides an alternate, is located at a height of 13,050 feet, and a journey from Manali Valley to Lahaul and Spiti Valley, which normally takes around five hours to negotiate, would now be completed in little over ten minutes.
  • While the tunnel will be a boon to the residents of the Lahaul and Spiti Valley who remain cut off from the rest of the country in winters for nearly six months due to heavy snowfall, the tunnel will provide almost all-weather connectivity to the troops stationed in Ladakh.

Facts about Rohtang Pass

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  • Rohtang Pass (elevation 3,978 m) is located in the state of Himachal Pradesh.
  • It is present on the Pir Panjal Range of Himalayas.
  • It connects the Kullu Valley with Lahaul and Spiti Valleys of Himachal Pradesh.
  • The Ravi river rises west of the Rohtang pass in the Kullu hills of Himachal Pradesh

-Source: Indian Express

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