The national President of BJP, Jagat Prakash Nadda, accompanied by Himachal Pradesh Chief Minister Jai Ram Thakur, on Monday visited the Atal Tunnel near here where they were accorded a rousing welcome at the North Portal by officials of the Border Roads Organisation (BRO) and General Reserve Engineer Force (GREF).
Later, they travelled to Sissu in Lahaul-Spiti district by road where they were accorded a traditional welcome.
Appreciating the engineering marvel of constructing the 9.02 km long horseshoe-shaped Atal Tunnel, the world’s longest motorable tunnel beneath the Rohtang Pass, Nadda thanked Prime Minister Narendra Modi for envisaging personal interest in realising the dream of former Prime Minister late Atal Behari Vajpayee to connect the landlocked Lahaul-Spiti with the rest of the world.
Nadda said the tunnel is also important from a strategic point of view for ensuring uninterrupted supply of logistics and other support to the Indian Army posted at the frontiers.
Earlier, on their arrival at the SASE Helipad, Nadda, who reached Himachal Pradesh on Sunday on a three-day tour, and the Chief Minister were welcomed by MP and state BJP President Suresh Kashyap, Agriculture Minister Ram Lal Markanda and Education Minister Govind Singh Thakur, among others.
The Atal Tunnel, named after Vajpayee posthumously, has shortened the distance between Manali and Keylong, the headquarters of Lahaul-Spiti, by 46 km, reducing the travel time by nearly three hours. It has also ensured all-weather connectivity.
The tunnel was inaugurated by Prime Minister Narendra Modi on October 3 last year.