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PM inaugurates world’s longest Sela Tunnel at 13,000 feet in Arunachal

The ambitious Sela Tunnel would boost India’s defences and lead to a faster response time for the armed forces to threats on the Line of Actual Control (LAC)

Joram Bogatania

Itanagar : Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Saturday dedicated to the nation the strategically-crucial Sela Tunnel, constructed at a cost of Rs 825 crore, in Arunachal Pradesh. It is the world’s longest bi-lane tunnel at 13,000 feet. The ambitious Sela Tunnel would boost India’s defences and lead to a faster response time for the armed forces to threats on the Line of Actual Control (LAC). After dedicating the tunnel to the nation, the PM urged the people to visit it and help boost trade and tourism in the region. “The Sela Tunnel should have been built earlier, but the previous Congress government did not take any such step,” said the PM, who also flagged off the first civilian convoy consisting of two buses from Tawang.


Apart from the Sela Tunnel, the PM virtually inaugurated from Itanagar 123 key developmental projects and laid the foundation of 95 new projects worth Rs 55,600 crore in six northeastern states — Manipur, Meghalaya, Nagaland, Sikkim, Tripura and Arunachal Pradesh.
An official said that on the road connecting Assam’s Tezpur to Tawang, the tunnel will enable “all-weather” connectivity to the region and it is strategically significant due to its proximity to the LAC.


The tunnel, stretching through the Sela-Charbela ridge and constructed with the New Austrian Tunneling Method (NATM), will be the world’s longest bi-lane tunnel at an altitude of 13,000 feet. The NATM is widely accepted and used in construction of tunnels worldwide especially for Himalayan geology.  The Balipara-Charduar-Tawang Road on which this tunnel has been constructed is an important axis connecting Tawang region and provides connectivity to the hinterland, up to Tezpur.


The road had various bottlenecks like Nechiphu, Bomdila Town and Sela Pass, which have been addressed by the BRO by constructing Sela and Nechiphu tunnels and Bomdila Bypass. The foundation stone of the Sela Tunnel was laid by the PM on February 9, 2019 and its construction commenced within two months. The tunnel has been completed in just five years overcoming challenges of difficult terrain and adverse weather conditions. The Sela Tunnel System consists of two tunnels of lengths 1,003 metre and 1,595 metre respectively with an 8.6 km approach and link roads constructed at a cost of Rs 825 crore. The tunnel has been designed for a traffic density of 3,000 cars and 2,000 trucks per day with a maximum speed of 80 kmph.


The Sela Tunnel will not only facilitate smoother movement of troops and supplies and reinforce defence capabilities in the region, it will also herald a new era of economic prosperity for the Tawang region, fostering trade, tourism, employment, education and overall development.
Earlier the route to Sela Pass had only single lane connectivity and treacherous bends due to which heavy vehicles, container trucks and vehicles with trailers could not get to Tawang, officials stated.


According to officials, due to adverse weather conditions, specifically in winters, evacuation of patients was affected along the existing Sela Pass. All this will now be a thing of the past with the opening of the tunnel. Earlier Prime Minister had elephant and jeep safari on Saturday morning in Kaziranga National Park in Assam. After spending morning hours in the park,  Prime Minister Narendra Modi unveiled the 125-feet long statue of 16th century Ahom general Lachit Borphukan in Jorhat district.

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