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The country witnessed a time when national security was compromised: PM Modi at the inauguration of Atal Tunnel in Himachal Pradesh

Attacking the previous Congress governments, PM Modi said that the project was almost forgotten by the subsequent governments after its foundation stone was laid down by former PM Vajpayee in 2002.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi today inaugurated the all-weather Atal Tunnel in Himachal Pradesh connecting Manali to Lahaul-Spiti valley. The tunnel, also known as Rohtang Tunnel, has a strategic importance as it is supposed to strengthen the border infrastructure. It will reduce the time taken in travelling from Manali to Leh by up to five hours. This 9.02 km long tunnel is world’s longest tunnel at this altitude which is 3000 km above Mean Sea Level (MSL). The Ladakh valley earlier used to be cut off for six months during snow fall. This tunnel will enable connectivity throughout the year.

The Prime Minister was accompanied by Defense Minister Ranath Singh, Chief of Defence Staff (CS) General Vipin Rawat, Army Chief General MM Narvane and Himachal Pradesh Chief Minister Jairam Thakur. Speaking at the inauguration of the Atal Tunnel, PM Modi said that the occasion marks the realisation of the dream of the late former Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee and also the long wait of the people of Himachal Pradesh.

Attacking the previous Congress governments, PM Modi said that the project was almost forgotten by the subsequent governments after its foundation stone was laid down by former PM Vajpayee in 2002.

Citing the opinion of experts, the Prime Minister said if the work of the tunnel had continued at the pace with which it was going on till 2014, the project would be complete by 2040.

He said that his government completed the work of tunnel in just six years which would have otherwise taken 26 years. Launching a veiled attack on the previous Congress governments PM Modi said that several other projects were treated in a similar manner before this government came. He cited Daulat Beg Oldi airstrip which was kept nonfunctional for a long time.

Without taking any names, PM Modi said that the interests of the country were compromised of very long time. He said that this government fulfills its promises.

Counting the achievements of his government, the Prime Minister said that modern arms and ammunition are being manufactured under Make in India and that the position of the Chief of Defence Staff was also created.

The Prime Minister said that the construction of the tunnel will give rise to various employment opportunities linked with tourism.

PM Modi also asked those associated with the construction of the tunnel, including BRO, to write down their experience, which can be compiled as a book, so that others, including engineering students, can learn from the stories of construction of the tunnel project.

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