Itanagar: The final blast for the 980-metre-long Sela Tunnel (Tunnel 1) in West Kameng district of Arunachal Pradesh was conducted by Director General Border Roads (DGBR) Lt Gen Rajeev Chaudhry through an e-ceremony from New Delhi on Saturday, marking the culmination of the excavation works on the complete tunnel project, Defence sources said.
Sharing photographs of the final blast on twitter under the caption “Light at end of Tunnel”, the premier road construction agency said, “@BROindia heralding a new chapter in infrastructural development by accelerating the construction of Sela Tunnel. Today, DGBR undertook the final breakthrough blast of Sela Tunnel thus marking the completion of more than 4000 meters of cumulative excavation in just 2 years and 3 months at an unprecedented pace.”
This feat has been achieved by the Border Roads Organisation (BRO) amidst inclement weather and heavy snowfall. Once completed, the Sela Tunnel project will be a lifeline as it will provide all-weather connectivity to Tawang bordering China, sources said.
The project comprises of Tunnel 1, which is a 980-metre-long single tube tunnel and Tunnel 2, which is a 1555-metre-long twin tube tunnel. Tunnel 2 has one bi-lane tube for traffic and one escape tube for emergencies. It will also be one of the longest tunnels to have been constructed above altitude of 13,000 feet.
The project also includes construction of an approach road of 7 km to Tunnel 1, which takes off from BCT (Balipara-Charduar-Tawang) Road and a link road of 1.3 km, which connects Tunnel 1 to Tunnel 2.
The foundation stone of the Sela Tunnel project was laid by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in 2019.
On January 15, 2021, after the first blast was conducted by the DGBR, excavation work on Tunnel 1 commenced. Thereafter, 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.
“BROindia is committed to complete the proj ahead of the scheduled timeline thus displaying the mighty resolve and dedication of BRO Karmayogis in development of our great Country,” it tweeted.