Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and United Progressive Alliance Chairperson Sonia Gandhi inaugurated the newly constructed Ghat Ki Guni tunnel here on Saturday providing an alternative link connecting Jaipur with the National Highway No. 11 to Agra. The tunnel project has been completed at a cost of Rs.150 crore.
Dr. Singh and Ms. Gandhi, accompanied by Rajasthan Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot, dedicated the twin-tube tunnel to the people and took a round of the passageway for vehicles which has been grilled through the Aravalli hills on the eastern side of the Pink City.
While an audio-visual presentation about the tunnel project was made for the guests at the venue, the function was telecast live at big screens installed at important locations in the city.
With a combined length of 2.80 km, the tunnel will provide a safe alternative to the narrow passage at Ghat Ki Guni connecting Jaipur to Bharatpur and Agra. The two-km-long serpentine road with a steep slope functioning as the eastern gateway of the city was considered accident-prone and used to witness traffic congestion and jams everyday.
Promising to provide a systematic vehicular traffic to and from NH-11, the new tunnel has two channels of the length of 879 metres each, both of which are interconnected at a distance of 330 metres. The project, based on the build, operate & transfer (BOT) structure, was completed in the stipulated duration.
The traffic in the tunnel will be controlled through computer panels. The two inter-connecting passages are meant to overcome situations like vehicular breakdown and accidents.
The tunnel has carvings, arches and walls colour-washed with pink shades representing the exquisite craftsmanship of Jaipur. It also has sensors for control of air pollution levels, display boards and cameras for speed control of vehicles, ventilation fans and telephone booths, provision of adequate illumination, ultramodern fire-extinguishing equipment and footpaths for pedestrians.
Among others, Union Ministers Chandresh Kumari, Namonarain Meena and Lalchand Kataria, Jaipur MP Mahesh Joshi, State Ministers, MLAs, Pradesh Congress Committee president Chandrabhan and Jaipur Mayor Jyoti Khandelwal were present on the occasion.
With the much-awaited tunnel coming up in the hard rock interiors of the Aravallis, the State Government is formulating a project to preserve the Ghat Ki Guni alley in its original shape and develop it as a tourist spot.
The wall-like structures on both the sides of the road contain small living quarters, temples and rooms for guards and sentries. The passage was guarded on both the sides as the main entry point to the city during the reign of Kachwaha Rajput rulers before Independence.