PM Modi inaugurates Sela Tunnel: All you need to know about world’s longest twin-lane passageway near China border

PM Modi Sela Tunnel inauguration: Built with a total cost of 825 crore by the Border Roads Organisation, the Sela Tunnel is the country's highest tunnel providing all-weather connectivity to strategic Tawang region and other forward areas bordering China near the Line of Actual Control (LAC)

Livemint, Written By Gulam Jeelani
Updated9 Mar 2024, 11:14 AM IST
The foundation stone of the project was laid by PM Modi in February 2019.
The foundation stone of the project was laid by PM Modi in February 2019.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi will inaugurate the strategically significant Sela Tunnel project during his day-long visit to Arunachal Pradesh on March 9. Built with a total cost of 825 crore by the Border Roads Organisation (BRO), the tunnel is situated at an altitude of 13,700 feet in West Kameng district on the road connecting Tezpur to Tawang in Arunachal Pradesh.

Among other things, Sela is the country's highest tunnel providing all-weather connectivity to the strategic Tawang region and other forward areas bordering China near the Line of Actual Control (LAC). 

Also Read: PM Modi inaugurates Hazratbal shrine development project in Srinagar: The initiative and its significance

The tunnel will also reduce more than one hour of travelling time from Tezpur to Tawang. ​Travellers would be able to avoid the dangerous snow-covered Sela top at a height of 13,700 feet, according to a statement from Prime Minister's office. ​

The Project

The project is world’s longest twin-lane tunnel built at an altitude of above 13,000 feet. It comprises Tunnel 1, which is a 980 m long single tube tunnel, and Tunnel 2, which is a 1555 m long twin tube tunnel. Tunnel 2 has one bi-lane tube for traffic and one escape tube for emergencies. It also includes the construction of an approach road of seven kilometres to Tunnel 1, which takes off from BCT Road, and a link road of 1.3 kilometres, which connects Tunnel 1 to Tunnel 2.

Engineering Marvel

The PMO statement said it is an engineering marvel and will provide all-weather connectivity to Tawang across the Sela pass on the Balipara -Chariduar- Tawang Road in Arunachal Pradesh. The tunnel was built using the new Austrian Tunnelling Method and incorporating safety features of the highest standards.

"The project will not only provide a faster and more efficient transport route in the region but is of strategic importance to the country," the statement said. The tunnel will be a lifeline as it will provide all-weather connectivity to Tawang.

The foundation stone of the Project was laid by the Prime Minister Narendra Modi on February 9 2019. On January 15, 2021, after the first blast was conducted, the excavation work on Tunnel 1 commenced. On October 14 2021, Defence Minister Rajnath Singh carried out the breakthrough blast of the 1,555 meter Tunnel 2, through an e-ceremony from India Gate, marking the end of excavation on Tunnel 2.

Strategic Significance

The lack of motorable roads and rail connections in Arunachal Pradesh were seen as distinct disadvantages for India vis à vis China along the border in the north east. And China building infrastructure including access roads right up to the Indian border gave it a strategic advantage, analysts said.

In the past few years, Union government under PM Modi has seen improved infrastructure connectivity in the northeast with new airports and railway connections coming up in the region. The Sela Tunnel, is one such project and thus strategically important.

Also Read : India to deploy 10,000 additional soldiers along border with China in Himachal Pradesh, Uttarakhand

The project provides all-weather connectivity to the Tawang region — the part contested by China which describes it as a part of the ancient territory. Until now, the Sela Pass stays closed for a few winter months. But the project will provide a new alignment on the axis towards the LAC ensuring seamless movement for military personnel and equipment throughout the year.

In 1962 war, Indian and Chinese forces clashed with each other an Tawang town was overrun by the People’s Liberation Army (PLA)  on October 24.

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First Published:9 Mar 2024, 11:14 AM IST
HomePoliticsNewsPM Modi inaugurates Sela Tunnel: All you need to know about world’s longest twin-lane passageway near China border

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