The Sela Tunnel in Arunachal has reached its final stages of construction. The record-breaking tunnel at 9,800 ft will ensure all-weather connectivity between Assam’s Guwahati and Arunachal’s Tawang. It avoids the winter snowfall on the Sela Pass, in addition to cutting the travel time to Tawang by an hour at least.
In a recent development, Defence Minister Rajnath Singh had virtually conducted the final breakthrough blast of the Sela tunnel in Arunachal Pradesh and flagged off a 20,000 km-long motorcycle expedition of the BRO on Thursday, October 14.
The tunnel excavated below the Sela Pass on NH-13 of the Trans-Arunachal Highway system will be connected by a new 12.4km road reducing distant between Dirang and Tawang by at least 10km.
The project providing two tunnels of 1,790 metres and 475 metres along with an escape tube of 980 metres began being constructed in 2019 and is nearing completion. The Sela Tunnel cuts through the Sela–Charbela ridge, which separates the Tawang district from the West Kameng district of Arunachal Pradesh and is located to the west of the Sela Pass.
Strategic importance of the tunnel
The tunnel constructed by the Border Roads Organisation (BRO) under Project Vartak, holds strategic importance as it will enhance Indian military’s capabilities in combating the threat of China’s Western Theater Command, opposite India’s eastern sector of Line of Actual Control.
The tunnel will further cut the travel time from the Army’s IV Corps headquarter at Tezpur to Tawang by at least 10 km or 1 hour and also help make the NH13 an all-weather road to access Tawang which usually gets disconnected during winter.
In addition to this, the tunnels would ensure that the 171 km road between Bomdila and Tawang remains accessible in all weather conditions and the tunnel will add to the tourist potential of Tawang, making it an even more popular destination in North East region.
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