New Delhi: Even as the country battles the COVID-19 pandemic, with the number of confirmed cases in the last 24 hours seeing the largest single-day spike, the Border Roads Organisation (BRO) on Tuesday resumed its work on the strategic Rohtang Tunnel, after special permission was taken from the Himachal Pradesh government in this regard, in a bid to complete the construction on schedule, by September, despite the COVID-19 lockdown. Also Read - Rohtang Tunnel May Become Operational Soon

Notably, the work on the tunnel had been halted for ten days due to the spread of the pandemic. Once constructed, it will be called ‘Atal Tunnel’ after late former Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee. Also Read - Food Park to be developed around Rohtang tunnel in HP: CM

In a statement today, the BRO said, “The Atal Tunnel is in a critical stage of construction wherein road surface works, installation of electro-mechanic fittings including lighting, ventilation and Intelligent Traffic Control Systems are being executed.” Also Read - Nearly 300 rescued from Lahaul, Solang through Rohtang Tunnel

“One steel super structure bridge of 100 meter length across River Chandra on the North Portal of the tunnel is also under construction. The work was halted for 10 days due to the COVID-19 pandemic,” the statement further noted.

The tunnel is being constructed in the Pir Panjal range as the Manali-Sarchu-Leh road is closed for six months in a year, between November and May, as the Rohtang Pass gets completely covered with snow. It will reduce the distance between Manali and Leh by nearly 50 kilometres and also provide connectivity to remote border areas of both Himachal Pradesh and Ladakh, regardless of the weather.

With a mammoth spike of 3,900 cases in the last 24 hours, India’s current confirmed coronavirus tally is at 46,433, including 1,568 deaths.