Wednesday, April 24, 2024

Prime Minister Modi dedicates strategic Sela Tunnel to nation


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Guwahati, March 9: The Prime Minister Narendra Modi today dedicated Sela  Tunnel project to the nation virtually from Itanagar in the  presence of the chief minister of Arunachal Pradesh Pema Khandu  and Union Minister of Earth Sciences Shri Kiren Rijiju.

The  tunnel constructed on the road connecting Tezpur to Tawang in Arunachal Pradesh. Sela Tunnel which has been constructed at an altitude of 13000 feet  with a total cost of Rs 825 crore, will provide all weather  connectivity to tge snow-capped Tawang Region of Arunachal Pradesh.

Sela Tunnel will not only boost defence preparedness of Indian  Armed Forces in Tawang Sector but will also augment socio-economic development of this border region.

Earlier, the route to Sela Pass had only single lane connectivity  and treacherous bends due to which heavy vehicles, container  trucks and vehicles with trailers could not get to Tawang. This is  now feasible with opening of tunnel.

In last one year itself, BRO has completed and dedicated to the nation unprecedented 125 infrastructure projects constructed at a cost of Rs 3611 cr. In West Kameng district in  Arunachal Pradesh.

Balipara-Charduar-Tawang Road on which Sela  Tunnel has been constructed is an important axis connecting Tawang  Region and provides connectivity to the hinterland upto Tezpur.

The road  had various bottlenecks like Nichephu, Bomdila Town and Sela Pass, which  have been addressed by the BRO by construction of Sela and Nichephu  Tunnels and Bomdila Bypass. The 500 meter-long Nechiphu Tunnel was inaugurated and dedicated to the Nation on Sept 12, 2023  by  the Defence Minister Rajnath Singh.

The foundation stone of Sela Tunnel was laid by the Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi on February 9, 2019. The construction of tunnel  commenced on April 1, 2019. The tunnel has been completed in just five years overcoming challenges of  difficult terrain and adverse weather conditions.

The Sela Tunnel System consists of two tunnels of lengths 1003 m  and 1595 m respectively with 8.6 Km approach and link roads constructed  at a cost of Rs 825 Cr. The second tunnel also has an escape tube adjacent  to the main tunnel as per international norms. The escape tube constructed  parallel to the main tube is connected with cross passages after every  500m.

In case of emergency, this escape tube can be used for moving of  rescue vehicles and evacuation of stranded people. The tunnel has been  designed for a traffic density of 3000 cars and 2000 trucks per day with a  max speed of 80 km/hour.

Sela Tunnel will ensure All-weather connectivity to Tawang and  forward areas bypassing the Sela top which will not only facilitate smoother  movement of troops and supplies but also reinforces our defence  capabilities in the region. Sela Tunnel will also herald a new era of  economic prosperity for the Tawang region, fostering trade, tourism, employment and overall development.

Earlier the route to Sela Pass had only single lane connectivity and treacherous bends due to which heavy vehicles, container trucks and vehicles with trailers could not get to Tawang.

Moreover, due to adverse weather conditions, specifically in  winters, evacuation of patients was adversely affected along the existing  Sela Pass. All this is now feasible with opening of tunnel.

The completed  Sela Tunnel System will reduce the travel distance by more than eight kilometer and travelling time by an hour. This Tunnel will improve the quality of life of the people living in the region, by providing easier access to healthcare,  education and essential services in the region.

Sela Tunnel has been constructed using New Austrian Tunneling  Method (NATM) which is widely accepted and used in construction of  tunnels worldwide especially for Himalayan Geology. It is based on the  Philosophy of “Build As You Go” and involves using the inherent strength of  the surrounding rock mass to support the tunnel.

The execution of this mega project took over 90 Lakh man-hours with an average of around 650 personnel and labours working every day for last five years. The enormity of the task could be judged by the quantity of 71,000 metric tons of cement,  5000 metric tons of steel and 800 metric tons of explosive that was used for  construction. A total of 162 plants and machinery were dedicated to the construction of this tunnel.

Various challenges were faced by Project Vartak during the construction of Sela Tunnel. These included challenge of freezing temp up to -10° C and formation of Icicles inside tunnel which caused delay in concreting process thereby affecting the time plan. Ingress of water during  construction & cavity formation affected the progress of work. Restrictions  due to COVID Protocol also affected the construction of the tunnel.

Due to the cloud burst that happened in July last year, a lot of damages occurred and the resources had to be shifted for reconstruction of these damages.

Out of five years it took to complete the project, approximately 762 days  had high snowfall or rainfall and 832 days had temperatures below 0° C, creating immense challenges for the personnel executing the work.

However, even with these challenges BRO was able to complete the tunnel  in less than five years due to the efficient use technology, ground  experience of executives and the hard work of civilian labour involved in the  construction.

The Sela Tunnel Project has been constructed with the highest  quality standards with a well prepared Quality Assurance Plan, prepared  strictly as per IRC SP 91 and MoRTH Guidelines. The tunnel has state of  the art safety features. The tunnel has ventilation system to maintain air  quality and state of the art electro mechanical system including jet fan  ventilation system, fire fighting devices, CIE norms based illumination  system and SCADA controlled monitoring systems.



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