The newly constructed Rohtang Tunnel built to connect Manali with Leh in the Indian state of Himachal Pradesh is set to be opened on 3 October 2020.

Rohtang Tunnel is reported to be one of the longest highway tunnels built above 10,000ft in the world.

Himachal Pradesh Chief Minister Jai Ram Thakur was quoted by Outlook as saying: “As per information received from the PMO, PM Narendra Modi will attend the inauguration ceremony of the Rohtang Tunnel, named after former PM Atal Bihari Vajpayee, on 3 October.”

Rohtang Tunnel has been named after former Indian Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee, who wanted to create an alternative road that would connect Manali and Leh and that could withstand all weather conditions.

It is strategically important in view of the growing tension in the Ladakh region, which borders China. India has already reinforced the deployments after the conflict escalated and led to physical combat in the Galwan Valley.

It has been built with a Rs35bn ($475m) investment by the Border Roads Organisation (BRO) using advanced engineering technologies and was completed during the pandemic.

The tunnel is said to be strategically located. Once opened to the public, it is expected to reduce travel distance between Manali and Leh by 46km.

In addition, it will feature an emergency tunnel right below the main traffic tunnel.

The tunnel road that will be opened for regular traffic will feature all emergency systems.

In another development, the country’s prime minister is set to lay the foundation for nine highway projects in the state of Bihar. Worth Rs142.58bn ($1.9bn), the projects will cover a length of about 350km.