In 2019, Prime Minister Narendra Modi laid the foundation stone of the Sela Tunnel project, and today’s blast of the main tube marks the end of its excavation.
To bolster national security and to provide all weather connectivity to Arunachal Pradesh, the Border Roads Organisation (BRO) achieved a major breakthrough after it conducted a blast of the main tube of Sela Tunnel. In his address after watching the blast on Thursday (Oct 14, 2021) through video conference, defence Minister Rajnath Singh said “The Sela Tunnel, located in West Kameng district of Arunachal Pradesh will ensure socio-economic development of the region and will strengthen national security.”
In 2019, Prime Minister Narendra Modi laid the foundation stone of the Sela Tunnel project, and today’s blast of the main tube marks the end of its excavation. According to the Ministry of Defence, so far the work on the 980-metre long second tunnel of the project has almost crossed the 700-metre mark.
Where is the Sela Tunnel?
Located at an altitude of 13,800 ft, Sela pass is on the 317 km long Balipara-Charduar-Tawang (BCT) road. It connects various districts of Arunachal Pradesh including Tawang, West Kameng, and East Kameng to the rest of the country. Besides providing all weather connectivity to Tawang, will help in reducing travel time.
Once the construction of the tunnel is completed, the 1.5 km tunnel will become one of the longest bi-lane road tunnels in the world, which is at an altitude above 13,800 feet.
The latest New Austrian Tunneling Method has been used to construct this tunnel which is below the snow line and will help in all weather travelling and there will be no challenge of snow clearance. Moving across the Sela Pass will become faster and smoother. It will be a huge boon for the population of Tawang.
What did the minister say in his address?
The minister highlighted the efforts of BRO to strengthen border infrastructure which have helped in the operational readiness of the Armed Forces. The infrastructure along the border areas have helped in generating employment for the local population as well as encouraging tourism in far-flung areas.
He also made a special mention of the construction of world’s longest highway Atal Tunnel, Rohtang, at 10,000 feet and Umlingla Pass, making it the highest motorable pass in the world at 19,300 feet in Eastern Ladakh.
India@75 BRO Motorcycle Expedition
The minister at the end of his address also flagged off the ‘India @75 Motorcycle Expedition’ which has been organized by BRO as a tribute to the soldiers who sacrificed their lives for the country.
This motorcycle expedition is part of ‘Azadi Ka Amrit Mahotsav’ and has around 75 riders from BRO, and also includes Indian Army and General Reserve Engineer Force personnel. The distance to be covered in this is approximately 20,000 kms over 75 days.
The route it will cover
It will be a seven legged expedition starting from India Gate, New Delhi and travel towards the Northern High Altitude areas. The riders will cross strategic passes like Khardung La, Rohtang, and Umling La. In the second leg the team of the riders will start from Srinagar to Siliguri.
During the third and fourth legs the journey will be from Siliguri to Doom Dooma through Gangtok. The whole expedition will progress through the North-Eastern states before they reach Kolkata. The fifth and sixth legs will pass from the Eastern, Southern and Western coastal areas of the country. And in the seventh leg it will go through the deserts and will return to Delhi on December 27, 2021.
And the riders will interact with school children, local people, ex-servicemen, veer naris, and Gallantry award winners. They will raise awareness on Swachh Bharat Abhiyan and road safety, and will also conduct medical camps.