New Delhi: The final blast for the 980-metre long Sela Tunnel (Tunnel-1) was conducted by Director General Border Roads (DGBR) Lt Gen Rajeev Chaudhry through an e-ceremony from New Delhi on Saturday. This marks the culmination of the excavation works on the complete Sela Tunnel Project. This feat has been achieved by Border Roads Organisation (BRO) amidst inclement weather and heavy snowfall.
The Sela Tunnel Project is located in the West Kameng District of Arunachal Pradesh. Once completed, it will be a lifeline as it will provide all-weather connectivity to Tawang. The project comprises tunnel-1, which is a 980 m long single tube tunnel and tunnel-2, which is a 1,555 m 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 an altitude of 13,000 feet. The project 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.
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.
The strategic importance of Sela tunnel
Once fully constructed, the Sela tunnel project will enhance the Indian military’s capabilities in combating the threat of China’s Western Theater Command opposite India’s eastern sector of Line of Actual Control. It will cut the travel time from the Indian Army’s IV Corps headquarter at Tezpur to Tawang by at least 10 km or 1 hour and also help make the NH13 an all-weather road to access Tawang which usually gets disconnected during winter. The tunnels would ensure that the 171 km road between Bomdila and Tawang remains accessible in all weather conditions.
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