ITANAGAR: The Sela tunnel, being constructed at a height of 13,000 feet, in Arunachal Pradesh is slated to be complete by January 2023.
With the opening of the tunnel, it will emnable Indian security forces to access an all-weather road to Tawang, passing close to the China border.
Border Roads Organization (BRO), in a statement, said that the construction has almost been completed for this strategic road.
The BRO, which is constructing the tunnel, also said that now they are expecting the inauguration in the coming three to four months. The inauguration is being slated for January 2023.
Foundation stone for the project was laid by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in February 2019. It is being constructed by the Border Roads Organization (BRO) and the time for its completion has been pegged at three years.
Sela Tunnel Project is estimated to cost Rs 687 crore. It covers a total distance of 12.04 kilometers and consists of two tunnels of 1790 and 475 meters each, with an escape tunnel.
The Indian security forces and local citizens at present use the Balipara-Chariduar Road in Assam to reach Tawang, the westernmost district in Arunachal Pradesh, sharing a border with China. They have to use the Sela Pass, situated at 13,700 feet.
However, connectivity through this route gets affected during the winter due to excessive rainfall at the Sela Pass. Movement of the vehicles belonging to the army and others get restricted during the winter due to excessive snowfall.
"The Sela tunnel project will bypass the existing narrow road leading to Sela Pass and will connect Baisakhi to Nuranang with a double lane specification road having two tunnels", a BRO statement read.
"Lining and electric and mechanical work of the tunnel are proceeding with full swing," it said.
"This will allow unhindered traffic movement in the winter season. Construction of this project will result in saving eight Km distance and at least a 90 minutes journey through the treacherous Sela Pass," the statement further says.
The proposed all-weather tunnel under the high altitude mountain pass of Sela, is expected to allow faster troop mobility along the border to impart a much-needed strategic thrust to the military against China.
China has been building roads, railways and villages close to the Indian border and New Delhi is very much concerned, more so due to the fact that that China has for long now been claiming that Arunachal is part of China, a statement that raises the hackles of the government as well as security forces of India.