Itanagar, Jan 22 (PTI) Border Roads Organization(BRO) on Saturday completed the excavation work in strategic Sela tunnel in West Kameng district of Arunachal Pradesh.

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On completion the Sela Tunnel, which is being built above 13000 feet, will be at the highest altitude in the country, BRO Vartak chief engineer Colonel Ajay Bhandari said.

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The final 980 m excavation work completed the more than 4000 cumulative excavation work for the project going on for the past two years, he told PTI.

The project is slated to be completed by February 2022, he said.

BRO Director General Lt Gen Rajeev Chaudhury carried out the blast on Saturday in an e-ceremony from New Delhi.

The strategic Sela Tunnel is a part of the Trans-Arunachal Highway (NH-13) located at 13,800 feet altitude along Bhalukpong-Dirang-Tawang route which poses a tough challenge for commuters, particularly during winter due to heavy snowfall.

The Centre had decided to build the 3,000 m Sela Pass to ensure all-weather connectivity to Tawang and gave the work to the BRO. Work on it began in 2019 to connect NH-13 by a new 12.4 km road to reduce the distance between Dirang and Tawang by 10 km.

On completion the travel time to Tawang will decrease by one hour and serve as the lifeline for the Buddhist pilgrim town located along the Sino-India border, he said.

The T1 tunnel, excavation work for which was completed on Saturday, is a 980 m long single tube tunnel and T2 is a 1,555 m long twin tube tunnel. The T2 has one bylane tube for traffic and one escape tube for emergencies.

The two tunnels together bypass the Sela Pass and maintain an elevation of 3000 m.

Defence Minister Rajnath Singh had initiated the final breakthrough blast for the T2 tunnel on October 14 last year from New Delhi.

The foundation stone of the project was laid by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in 2019 in the virtual mode and excavation work on T1 had started on January 15, 2021, Bhandari added. PTI

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