KULLU, September 7
Five companies have shown interest in the construction of the much-awaited Jalori tunnel on the Aut-Luhri National Highway connecting Banjar and Anni in Kullu district. The plan to build a 4.2 km tunnel between Khanag and Ghayagi under the Jalori Pass to facilitate round-the-year vehicular movement has been in place for the past four decades.
Anni, Nirmand residents worst affected
- The 10,800-ft high Jalori Pass (pic) remains closed due to snowfall in winters
- People of 69 panchayats of Seraj have to traverse a long distance via alternative route
- The distance between Luhri to Kullu is 120 km but due to its closure, the distance via Karsog becomes 220 km
- People of Anni and Nirmand are the worst affected, who also have to travel a longer distance to reach Kullu
The National Highways Authority of India (NHAI) had completed the survey of the tunnel in 2014. The estimated cost was Rs 364.65 crore. The Union Ministry of Surface and Transport approved the construction in February 2020. The tenders for making a detailed project report (DPR) of the tunnel were floated on June 11, 2021.
Engineer KL Suman, Executive Engineer, Rampur Division of the NHAI, said the selection of the company would be done by the Union ministry. The selected company will prepare the design and carry out monitoring during the construction of the tunnel and also maintain it for 10 years after its completion.
Seven kilometres of the road and a bridge are included in the project. The cost of the consultancy is Rs 25 crore.
The 10,800-ft high Jalori Pass remains closed due to snowfall in winters and people of 69 panchayats of Seraj have to traverse a long distance via alternative route. The distance between Luhri to Kullu is 120 km but due to the closure of the pass, the distance via Karsog becomes 220 km, which makes the journey tedious and expensive. People of Anni and Nirmand are the most affected, who have to travel a longer distance to reach Kullu.
Residents of Anni, Nirmand and outer Seraj are demanding the tunnel for a long time so that they can remain connected with Mandi and Kullu round the year. Apart from Banjar and Anni, lakhs of people of Lahaul-Spiti, Kullu, Mandi, Shimla and Kinnaur districts will benefit.
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