Tribune News Service
Sissu (Keylong), October 2
It will be a memorable trip for Lahaul’s 15 elderly residents on board the first bus to pass through Atal Tunnel.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi will on Saturday flag off the bus from Dhundi, the south portal of the tunnel, 30 km from Manali. “We cannot believe we will be able to travel to Kullu-Manali during winters. I never thought that this would happen during my lifetime,” said 84-year-old Tenzin Dorje.
Each of the 15 passengers will be given a framed souvenir bus ticket.
The longest motorable tunnel at a height of over 3,000 metres will reduce the distance between Manali and Keylong by 46 km. It is expected to boost tourism and winter sports in the region. Significantly, it will facilitate the movement of armed forces and infantry combat vehicles to the Line of Actual Control.
The foundation stone for the 9.02-km horseshoe-shaped tunnel, built by the Border Roads Organisation at a cost of about Rs 4,000 crore, was laid by UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi on June 28, 2010.