Nearly 96 per cent work of the strategically crucial Sela Tunnel, which will enable “all-weather” connectivity to Tawang in Arunachal Pradesh, is complete and it is likely to be inaugurated by the year-end, BRO officials said on Saturday.
Final touches are being provided to the tunnel, along with installation of safety measures inside it, they added.
The Sela Tunnel has been excavated below the 4,200-metre (13,800 ft) Sela Pass, which is often closed due to snowfall and landslides.
The Sela Pass connects the Tawang district with the rest of Arunachal Pradesh.
The tunnel will provide access to Tawang and other forward areas bordering China throughout the year, enhancing the strategic and operational capabilities of the Indian Army, the officials said.
"Almost 96 per cent work of the tunnel is complete. Only some work in the escape tunnel and pavement are pending, and those are also nearing completion," a senior Border Roads Organisation official, who did not wish to be identified, told PTI.
The official also said that safety measures are being installed inside the tunnel in the final phase.
Passage through the tunnel is already open for vehicles involved in the construction, though no other movement is allowed at the moment, he said.
Kuldeep Singh, an on-site engineer of the company executing the work under the supervision of the BRO, said it is likely to be inaugurated by the end of 2023.
"The weather is a major issue here. There is heavy rain and even snowfall… If the weather does not impede, we hope to be able to open it for the public by end of this year," he said.
The total length of the project, including the tunnels, the approach and the link roads, will be around 12 km.
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