Why the Sela Tunnel in Arunachal is important; Learn more about this strategically

The Sela Tunnel project in the northeastern state of Arunachal Pradesh, which is strategically important, is nearing completion. The Sela Tunnel project has entered a decisive phase after a final explosion after excavation work was completed earlier this year. Once the Sela Tunnel project is completed, which is likely to be completed by the end of this year, the 13,000-foot Sela Tunnel will encourage all-weather connectivity with neighboring China along the Line of Actual Control, according to an IE report. The Sela Tunnel project is being implemented by the Border Road Organization (BRO). Learn more about the Sela Tunnel Project:

What is included in the project?
It has two tunnels as well as a connecting road. Tunnel 1 will be a 980 m long single-tube. Although Tunnel 2 will be 1,555 meters long, it will be a two-lane tube for traffic and an escape tube for running emergency. There will be a connecting road between the two tunnels which will be 1,200 meters. According to reports, the second tunnel will be one of the longest tunnels built above 13,000 feet. Also, the project involves the development of an approach road from Tunnel 1 to 7 km, which will take off from BCT Road, as well as a link road of 1.3 km, which connects Tunnel 1 to Tunnel 2. The total length of the project including tunnels, approaches and connecting roads will be about 12 kilometers.

Where is the project being constructed?
The tunnel project, located in the West Kameng district of Arunachal Pradesh, will provide an alternative axis at Sela Pass, which is located at 13,700 feet. According to reports, it will be on BCT Road – Balipara, Charduar and Tawang axis, which is more than 300 kilometers long. The estimated cost of the project is Rs. 700 crore.

Why is the Sela Tunnel Project important?
The Sela Tunnel project promises all-weather connectivity with Tawang and other leading areas of the sector. Currently, Sela Pass is closed for a few months during the winter season. The Sela Tunnel project will propose a new alignment of the axis towards the LAC, as well as allow the movement of military and civilian vehicles throughout the year.

The government, when laying the foundation stone in February 2019, highlighted three main advantages- all weather connections in Tawang as well as the frontier area; Travel time from Tezpur to Tawang is reduced and passengers avoid the dangerous Sela peak at an altitude of 13,700 feet.

What is the progress of the project?
The Sela Tunnel project is nearing completion. The first explosion of Tunnel 1 took place in January 2021, after the Prime Minister laid the foundation stone in 2019. In January of this year, the final explosion of the 980-meter tunnel 1 took place. In the interim, for Tunnel 2, the groundbreaking explosion took place in October 2021. According to the report, by October 2021, about 50% of the contract work has been completed. While excavation work for Tunnel 2 and its parallel escape tunnel has already been completed, work on Tunnel 1 is 80% complete.

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