Atal Tunnel has officially been certified by World Book of Records, as the ‘World’s Longest Highway Tunnel above 10,000 Feet’, during a landmark ceremony on 09 February 2022, in New Delhi. Lt Gen Rajeev Chaudhry, Director General of Border Roads Organisation (DGBR) received the award for the stupendous achievement of the Border Roads Organisation (BRO) in constructing this engineering marvel connecting Manali to the Lahaul – Spiti Valley. World Book of Records UK, is an organisation that catalogues and verifies extraordinary records across the world with authentic certification.
The Nation’s pride, the visionary project of Atal Tunnel was dedicated to the Nation by the Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi on October 03, 2020. The 9.02 km long, strategically significant, Atal Tunnel, that runs under the ‘Rohtang Pass’ was constructed on the Manali – Leh Highway under the challenging conditions of freezing temperatures in extremely difficult terrain. Prior to the construction of the tunnel, the highway remained closed during winter season for six months, isolating Lahaul & Spiti from the mainland. Construction of this tunnel has reduced the distance on Manali – Sarchu road by 46 km and travel time by four to five hours, providing all-weather connectivity on the Manali – Leh axis.
The construction of this tunnel, nestled in Pir Panjal Ranges of the Himalayas, has been as much a test of technical & engineering skills, as of human endurance and machine efficacy. It has been constructed in extremely harsh and challenging terrain, wherein the temperatures in winters dipped to bone-chilling -25 degrees and often temperature inside the tunnel soared to nearly 45 degrees. Fragile geology and challenges like seepage of Seri Nala, leading to the flooding of the Atal Tunnel, coupled with high overburden & excessive snowfall were some of the principal construction challenges successfully surmounted by the Karmyogis of BRO.
The BRO, true to its motto ‘Connecting Places Connecting People’ has provided an engineering marvel in Atal Tunnel, Rohtang. The tunnel, besides offering the Armed Forces a strategic advantage by providing an alternate link to the critical Ladakh Sector, has also been a boon for the residents of Lahaul & Spiti District in Himachal Pradesh. The region has seen an unprecedented increase in the arrival of tourists, and in a little more than a year, the valley and the state have witnessed growth in the socio-economic domains. The Atal Tunnel is destined to play a defining role in the future development of the region.