Rohtang tunnel named after Vajpayee

The label pays homage to former PM in whose term the project was approved

Updated - December 25, 2019 01:23 am IST

Published - December 24, 2019 10:14 pm IST - NEW DELHI

Labourers working at the south portal of the Rohtang tunnel in Solang Valley, Himachal Pradesh, on June 27, 2010.

Labourers working at the south portal of the Rohtang tunnel in Solang Valley, Himachal Pradesh, on June 27, 2010.

A day before the birth anniversary of former Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee, the Union Cabinet on Tuesday approved two schemes in his honour: one to improve groundwater management in villages and the other to rename the tunnel being built under the Rohtang Pass after him.

Announcing the decisions taken by the Cabinet at a meeting chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Information and Broadcasting Minister Prakash Javadekar said at a press conference here that the water scheme and the renaming of the tunnel would be launched on Wednesday.

The Cabinet had approved ₹6,000 crore for the Atal Bhujal Yojana for five years from 2020-21. Mr. Javadekar said half the cost would be borne by the Centre and the rest would be met with a World Bank loan.

“The scheme is aimed at improving groundwater management through community participation in identified priority areas in seven States: Gujarat, Haryana, Karnataka, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Rajasthan and Uttar Pradesh,” an official release said. It would be implemented in 8,350 villages across 78 districts.

Tunnel to be renamed

Mr. Javadekar said the tunnel, being constructed from Manali to Leh, would be renamed as the ‘Atal Tunnel’. He said 80% of the work on the tunnel, the construction of which was approved in 2000 when Vajpayee was the Prime Minister, had so far been completed. The strategic tunnel is 8.8 km long, making it the longest above the altitude of 3,000 metres in the world, the release said.

He also announced that the Cabinet had approved the release of ₹627.40 crore for 10 projects sanctioned during 2018-19 and ₹1,854.67 crore for new projects during 2019-20 under the Swadesh Darshan scheme of the Tourism Ministry. The scheme is aimed at developing tourism infrastructure in 15 circuits — Himalayan, North East, Krishna, Buddhist, coastal, desert, tribal, eco, wildlife, rural, spiritual, Ramayana, heritage, Tirthankar and Sufi.

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