New Delhi: Defence Minister Rajnath Singh 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.

The virtual breakthrough blast and the flagging-off were conducted by the minister at the National War Memorial here.

Singh said the Sela tunnel will be the world’s largest bi-lane tunnel at an altitude of more than 13,000 feet. He also lauded the work done by the Border Roads Organisation (BRO) while handling this project.

The tunnel will not only strengthen national security, but also augment the transportation facilities for the local people and consequently, boost their socio-economic conditions, he said.

“This tunnel, which has been made with state-of-the-art features, will prove to be the lifeline for not just Tawang, but the entire state of Arunachal Pradesh,” Singh said.

The tunnel goes through Sela Pass and is expected to cut down the distance to the China border through Tawang district in Arunachal Pradesh by 10 km. The construction work of the tunnel is expected to be over by June 2022.

“The breakthrough blast of the Sela main tunnel shows your (BRO’s) hard work and your commitment towards the country’s security and socio-economic development,” the defence minister said.

He also flagged off a motorcycle expedition of the BRO.

Singh said 75 personnel of the BRO and the Army will participate in the motorcycle expedition that will cover a distance of 20,000 km passing through many states and Union territories.

The Sela tunnel would cut down the travel time between the Army’s 4 Corps headquarters at Tezpur in Assam and Tawang by at least an hour.

Moreover, it would ensure that National Highway 13, especially the 171-km stretch between Bomdila and Tawang, remains accessible in all weather conditions.

In the 2018-19 budget, former Union finance minister Arun Jaitley had announced the Centre’s plan to build a tunnel through Sela Pass, located at an elevation of 13,700 feet, which will ensure a faster movement of troops in Tawang, a strategically-located district bordering China.

Also read | Trans-Arunachal highway construction in full swing: Arunachal Deputy CM

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