Work of 1.5 km Atal Tunnel were completed till 2014, 300 metres a year: PM Modi
Manali: Prime Minister Narendra Modi today targeted Congress party, blaming it for compromising and delaying the strategic important projects during its rule.
PM Modi, while addressing during the Atal Tunnel opening, launched a blistering attack at the opposition party, which headed the coalition government at the Centre during 2004-14, after inaugurating the strategically important 9.02-km Atal Tunnel– connects Manali to Lahaul-Spiti valley throughout the year, the world’s longest highway tunnel which reduces the distance between Manali and Leh by 46 km and the travel time by four to five hours.
The Prime Minister said Atal ji laid the foundation of the approach road for this tunnel in 2002. He said after Atal ji’s government, the work was so neglected that only 1300 metres i.e less than 1.5 Kms of tunnel could be built till 2013-14 i.e only about 300 metres each year.
And if it continued at that pace then the tunnel would be completed only in 2040, Modi further added.
The Prime Minister said that the Government fast tracked the project and the construction went on at a speed of 1400 metres each year. He said the project could be completed in 6 years where the estimate was 26 years.
He said infrastructure should be developed at a fast pace when the country needs to progress economically and socially. Shri Modi said this needs unflinching political will and commitment for the progress of the nation.
He said the delay in the completion of such important and major infrastructure projects causes financial losses and deprives people of economic and social benefits. He said in 2005, the estimated cost for the construction of the tunnel was about Rs. 900 crores. But due to continuous delays, today it has been completed after spending more than 3 times i.e. 3200 crore rupees.
The Prime Minister said many important projects were meted out the same treatment as the Atal Tunnel.
The strategically very important air strip in Ladakh as Daulat Beg Oldi remained uncompleted for 40–45 years though the Air Force wanted an air strip.
He said work on the Bogibeel Bridge also started during Atal ji’s government but work on it languished later. The Bridge provides key connectivity between Arunachal and the North East region. PM Modi said the work gained unprecedented momentum after 2014 and was inaugurated about two years ago on the occasion of Atal ji’s birthday.
PM Modi said Atal ji also laid the foundation stone of Kosi Mahasetu to connect two major regions of Mithilanchal in Bihar. After 2014, the Government expedited the work of Kosi Mahasetu and the bridge was inaugurated a few weeks ago.
The Prime Minister said the situation now changed and in the last six years the border infrastructure – be it roads, bridges or tunnels- is being developed with full impetus and great speed.
The Prime Minister said taking care of the needs of the security forces of the country is one of the highest priorities of the government. But this was also compromised earlier and the interests of the country’s defence forces were compromised.