NEW DELHI: The government will name the strategic tunnel under Rohtang Pass in Himachal Pradesh after former prime minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee on his birth anniversary on Wednesday.
The historic decision to construct a strategic tunnel below the Rohtang Pass was taken on June 3 2000 when Vajpayee was the prime minister.
"Government has decided to honour the contribution of former prime minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee by naming the strategic tunnel under Rohtang Pass after him on December 25," the defence ministry said.
The decision was taken at a Cabinet meeting presided by Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Tuesday.
The 8.8 km-long tunnel will be the world's longest above an altitude of 3,000 metres and will reduce the distance between Manali and Leh by 46 kilometres, according to the defence ministry.
The tunnel is now nearing completion.
Once thrown open, the tunnel will provide all-weather connectivity to remote border areas of Himachal Pradesh and Ladakh which otherwise remain cut off from the rest of the country for about six months during winters.
"The Border Roads Organisation worked relentlessly to overcome major geological, terrain and weather challenges that included the most difficult stretch of the 587-metre Seri Nalah Fault Zone," said an official.