- Recently the Atal Tunnel has been officially certified by the World Book of Records as the ‘World’s Longest Highway Tunnel at an altitude of more than 10,000 feet’.
- The World Book of Records UK, is an organization that catalogs and verifies global exceptional records with authentic certification.
Features of Atal Tunnel:
- The 9.02 km long tunnel is the longest highway tunnel in the world at a height of over 3,000 metres.
- It crosses a mountain to the west of Rohtang Pass and it reduces the distance between Solang valley and Sisu by about 46 km which takes about 15 minutes to cover the whole. Earlier it used to take about 4 hours to travel between these two points.
- Rohtang Pass (elevation 3,978 m) is located in the state of Himachal Pradesh.
- This tunnel is located in the Pir Panjal range of the Himalayas.
Significance of the tunnel:
- Connectivity: The Atal Tunnel is an important step towards providing year-round connectivity to Ladakh. This tunnel connects Ladakh with Manali and Chandigarh throughout the year, as it passes through the Rohtang Pass, which is covered with snow during the winter months.
- Strategic: The tunnel provides a strategic advantage to the country’s armed forces by providing year-round connectivity to the border areas.
- Infrastructure: The residents of Ladakh who had faced immense difficulty to avail basic facilities like health care and food supply can now reach Manali and connect with the rest of the country using this new tunnel. Essential commodities like supply of petrol and vegetables will also be available throughout the year.
- Boon for farmers: The reduction in travel time helps many, especially those farmers whose valuable crops like peas and potatoes will not rot in trucks before reaching the market.
- Promotion of Tourism: The region has witnessed unprecedented growth in tourist arrivals and in a little over a year, the Valley and the State have seen considerable development in the socio-economic sphere.