The Border Roads Organisation (Bro) has achieved a breakthrough by connecting the north and south portals of the Chamba tunnel in Uttarakhand. The tunnel will be opened to traffic by the end of this year, about three months before its scheduled date of completion.
Located below the densely populated Chamba town on the Rishikesh-Dharasu road, the tunnel is a part of the Char-Dham Pariyojana, a project worth about 12,000 crore which aims to improve and develop 889 km of national highways in orer to provide all-weather connectivity to the four holy places in Uttarakhand- Yamunotri, Gangotri, Kedarnath and Badrinath. The tunnel will also provide better connectivity to troops to the Line of Actual Control. Troops, artillery guns and vehicles will be able to quickly reach important places along the border with China such as the Nelong Valley, said official sources.
The tunnel is on the road which leads to Bhaironghati from Dharasu and then to Nelong Valley and troops can easily move from depth areas to forward areas. The construction of the tunnel was a challenging task due to issues in land acquisition, weak geology and continuous water seepage. There was also a dense built up area above the tunnel, which increased the chances of it sinking in.
Bro started work on the tunnel’s north portal in January last year, but work on the south portal could commence only after October when issues regarding land compensation and safety of houses above the tunnel were resolved to the satisfaction of all stakeholders, with active support from the state government, said Director General Border Roads, Lieutenant General Harpal Singh.
The latest Austrian technology has been used in the construction of the 450 m long tunnel worth 88 crore. The development comes in the backdrop of the Chinese objecting to Indian road construction along Pangong Tso and another road that is linked to the strategic DarbukhShyok-DBO road built last year.