Proposed tunnel under Jalori Pass a poll issue in Mandi

Proposed tunnel under Jalori Pass a poll issue in Mandi

The Jalori Pass under which a tunnel is to be constructed.

Dipender Manta

Tribune News Service

Mandi, October 13

The project for the construction of a 4.2 km tunnel under the Jalori Pass on the Aut-Luhri highway is hanging fire for the past several years. This has now emerged as an election issue in Mandi.

The residents of Anni and Nirmand are desperately waiting for the tunnel beneath the 10,800-ft high Jalori Pass, which will provide them all-weather connectivity to Kullu round the year.

Residents of 58 panchayats remain cut off

  • Due to its high altitude, the Jalori Pass receives considerable snowfall during the winter every year, and the residents of 58 gram panchayats of Anni and Nirmand remain cut off from the district headquarters of Kullu for months.
  • This forces them to travel 220 km to 270 km extra to visit Kullu via Shimla or Karsog.

Due to its high altitude, the Jalori Pass receives considerable snowfall during the winter every year, the residents of 58 gram panchayats of Anni and Nirmand remain cut off from the district headquarters of Kullu for months. This forces the residents to travel 220 km to 270 km extra to visit Kullu via Shimla or Karsog, making the journey tiring and expensive.

The residents say that the project was announced during the Congress regime in 2014 but no progress had been made on it till date. During the last Lok Sabha elections, both BJP and Congress candidates had promised to construct the tunnel, but the project is still hanging fire.

“With snow blocking the Kullu-Jalori-Anni road, people either risk their lives by crossing the pass on foot during emergency or travel via Shimla or Karsog, which takes more than eight hours. The road that has sharp turns, steep climbs and is prone to landslides becomes dangerous during the winter,” says Lal Singh, a resident of Anni.

“The tunnel project being raised during the byelection is merely a gimmick to hoodwink voters. During elections both BJP and Congress promise to execute the project on priority but forget it on coming to power,” says another resident Chander Kumar.

The locals say that even the condition of the Aut-Luhri highway is pathetic at several locations and needs urgent maintenance.

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