Atal Tunnel has officially been certified by World Book of Records as the ‘World’s Longest Highway Tunnel above 10,000 Feet’.
- World Book of Records UK, is an organisation that catalogues and verifies extraordinary records across the world with authentic certification.
- It was built by the Border Roads Organisation (BRO).
- The 9.02-km tunnel is the longest highway tunnel in the world above the height of 3,000 metres.
- It cuts through a mountain west of the Rohtang pass and shortens the distance between Solang Valley and Sissu by around 46 km and takes around 15 minutes to cover. Earlier, it would take nearly 4 hours to travel between the two points.
- Rohtang Pass (elevation 3,978 m) is located in the state of Himachal Pradesh.
- It is present on the Pir Panjal Range of Himalayas.
- The Atal tunnel is the first step towards all-year connectivity to Ladakh.
- The tunnel has the potential to link Ladakh to Manali and Chandigarh throughout the year, as it bypasses Rohtang Pass, which is snowed in through the winter months.
- The tunnel provides a strategic advantage to the country’s armed forces by providing year-long connectivity to border areas.
- It will save an entire day for troops and supplies as they move towards forward posts.
- The residents of Ladakh who had to face immense hardship to avail even basic facilities like healthcare and food supplies now are able to reach Manali and connect with the rest of the country using this new tunnel.
- Essential commodities like petrol and vegetable supplies would also likely be available throughout the year.
- The drop in travel time helps many, especially farmers whose precious crops like peas and potatoes will no longer rot in trucks before reaching the market.
- The region has seen an unprecedented increase in the arrival of tourists, and in a little more than a year, the valley and the state have witnessed growth in the socio-economic domains.