Strategic Tunnel under Rohtang Pass named after former Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee
New Delhi: On the Birth anniversary of former Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee, Prime Minister Narendra Modi launched Atal Bhujal Yojana (ATAL JAL) and named the Strategic Tunnel under Rohtang Pass after Vajpayee, in an event held in New Delhi today.
Speaking on the occasion, Prime Minister said that today the name of a big project which is very important for the country, Rohtang Tunnel, connecting Manali, Himachal Pradesh with Leh, Ladakh, will now be known as Atal Tunnel. He also said that this strategic tunnel will change the fortunes of this region. It will help in promoting tourism in the region.
On Atal Jal Yojana, PM highlighted that the subject of water was very important to Atal ji and very close to his heart. Our Government is striving to implement his vision. Atal Jal Yojana or the guidelines related to the Jal Jeevan Mission are big steps in proving the resolve to deliver water to every household in the country by 2024, the PM added.
Prime Minister emphasized that Jal Shakti Ministry freed the water out of Compartmentalized Approach and laid stress on a Comprehensive and Holistic Approach. He said that on one hand, Jal Jeevan Mission, will work towards delivering piped water supply to every house, and on the other hand Atal Jal Yojana, will pay special attention to those areas where groundwater is very low.
To incentivise gram panchayats to perform better in water management, Prime Minister said that a provision has been made in the Atal Jal Yojana, in which better-performing gram panchayats, will be given more allocation. He said that in 70 years, only 3 crores out of 18 crores rural households have access to the piped water supply. Now our Government has set the target to deliver clean drinking water to 15 crore homes in the next five years through pipes.
Prime Minister emphasized that water-related schemes should be made according to the situation at every village level. This has been taken care while making the guidelines of the Jal Jeevan Mission, he added. He also said that both Union and State Governments will spend Rs 3.5 lakh crore on water-related schemes in the next 5 yrs. He requested the people of every village to make a water action plan and create a water fund. Farmers should make a water budget where groundwater is very low.
Atal Bhujal Yojana (ATAL JAL)
ATAL JAL has been designed with the principal objective of strengthening the institutional framework for participatory groundwater management and bringing about behavioural changes at the community level for sustainable groundwater resource management in seven States, viz. Gujarat, Haryana, Karnataka, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Rajasthan and Uttar Pradesh. Implementation of the scheme is expected to benefit nearly 8350 Gram Panchayats in 78 districts in these States.
ATAL JAL will promote panchayat led groundwater management and behavioural change with primary focus on demand-side management. Out of the total outlay of Rs. 6000 crore to be implemented over a period of 5 years (2020-21 to 2024-25), 50% shall be in the form of World Bank loan, and be repaid by the Central Government. The remaining 50% shall be through Central Assistance from regular budgetary support. The entire World Bank’s loan component and Central Assistance shall be passed on to the States as Grants.
Tunnel under Rohtang Pass
The historic decision to construct a strategic tunnel below the Rohtang Pass was taken by former Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee. The 8.8-kilometre-long tunnel is the world’s longest tunnel above an altitude of 3,000 metres. It will reduce the distance between Manali and Leh by 46 kilometres and save crores of rupees in transport costs. It is a 10.5-metre wide single tube bi-lane tunnel with a fireproof emergency tunnel built into the main tunnel itself. The breakthrough from both ends was achieved on October 15, 2017. The tunnel is now nearing completion and is a step in the direction of providing all-weather connectivity to remote border areas of Himachal Pradesh and Ladakh which otherwise remained cut off from the rest of the country for about six months during winters.