The Border Roads Organisation (BRO) is set to construct two tunnels through 4170-metre Sela Pass in Arunachal Pradesh, which would cut down the distance to China border through Tawang by 10 kms. According to the Indian Express, the tunnels would remove the hairpin bends and high elevation which make the distance longer. The tunnels would cut down at least an hour of travel time between the Army’s 4 Corps headquarters at Tezpur and Tawang. Moreover, the tunnels would ensure that NH13, and especially the 171 km stretch between Bomdila and Tawang, remains accessible in all weather conditions. The report said that the BRO, which manages the roads across India’s borders, has completed technical details of the proposed tunnels. They would be a boon to the Indian army troops in winters when heavy snowfall hinders connectivity on roads. A BRO official told IE that the land acquisition process has been initiated and the construction of tunnel would be prioritized. R S Rao, Commander of 42 BRTF of Project Vartak gave the approved alignment plan to the West Kameng deputy commissioner Sonal Swaroop on Thursday.
The steep slopes and hairpin bends are risky for both army, especially the convoy movements, and civilians. The plan also includes double laning of the highway for a 25 km stretch between Baishakhi and Nurarang. The Sela Pass is an important landmark of the 1962 Indo-China war and, with its scenic beauty, can provide a boost in tourism for the state.