Rohtang Tunnel construction to start from may this year

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    Shimla : Construction work of 9 KMs. long Rohtang Tunnel below Rohtang Pass was likely to start by May, 2008. This was revealed by Prof. Prem Kumar Dhumal, Chief Minister, on receiving a communication from  M.M.Pallam Raju, Union Minister of State for Defence here today.
    Chief Minister said that former Prime Minister, Atal Behari Vajpayee had announced the construction of the ambitious Rohtang Tunnel Project during his Prime Ministership at Manali to connect the tribal valley of Lahaul with motorable road all round the year. He said that concerted efforts were made by the then Prime Minister to get the modalities worked out, project report prepared and budgetary provisions made to start the execution of the project. He said that the project would be taken up as a time bound project and will be completed within the stipulated period of time. He further said that Atal Behari Vajpayee had special attachment with the tribal people of the state and was concerned about their genuine connectivity problem. He said that a number of delegations of the Lahaul and Pangi valleys had called on him during his sojourn at Manali and urged him to construct the tunnel for them across Rohtang Pass. He said that former Prime Minister took keen interest in the matter and passed necessary directions for preparation of detailed project report to explore the feasibility of the project and preparation of estimates to start construction work of the same.
    Prof. Dhumal said that the dream of the tribal people was due to realize as the global tenders had been floated by the Border Roads Organization inviting bids for undertaking the tunnel boring project. He said that he would reiterate the matter with the Union Government to ensure that continuous flow of funds was maintained for speedy completion of the project. He said that it happened to be a mega project and experienced multinational tunnel boring companies would be in a position to undertake the execution of the project. He hoped that the tendering process would be completed in the near future and as promised by the Union Minister of State for Defence, construction work taken off by the middle of this year.
    Chief Minister assured the Border Roads Organization authorities of all help from the state government for execution and completion of the project. He directed the state authorities related to the project to extend all cooperation to the BRO besides coordinating with them for the assistance it needed from time to time. He said that with the completion of the project the tribal valley of Lahaul would be connected for all purposes besides boosting nature and adventure tourism activities there. He said that usually the tribal population gets migrated to the Kullu valley during winter season and with the completion of the project they would be in a position to maintain contact with their homeland even during the winter season. He added that it would also be helpful in convenient stocking of essential commodities for the local consumption in Lahaul and Pangi, besides catering to the other strategically requirements of the area.
    Prof. Dhumal said that Lahaul valley was renowned for its quality seed potatoes, quality off season vegetables and other allied agriculture and horticulture produce, which had global marketing potential. He said that the growers of the valley had been depending upon single crop for their economy due to difficult geophysical conditions prevalent in the valley. He said that with the completion of the tunnel not only the distance between both the ends would get curtailed, but the cash crops would also be marketed to the different destinations more conveniently. He said that the hilly terrain distance would also get curtailed by over 70 kms., thereby saving the time and bear and tear in the transport machinery. He said that efforts would also be made to utilize the connectivity facilities for promotion of other economic activities in the valley.

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