Sela Tunnel: A New Lifeline for Arunachal Pradesh

Sela Tunnel

New Delhi: The Prime Minister inaugurated the Sela Tunnel, a landmark infrastructure project in Arunachal Pradesh. This significant development promises all-weather connectivity to the strategically crucial Tawang region, enhancing swift logistical movement for military operations and reducing travel distance by over 8 km and travel time by approximately an hour.

Location and Construction:
Perched at an altitude exceeding 13,000 feet, the tunnel is part of the road network connecting Tezpur to Tawang in the West Kameng district. The construction of this engineering marvel, which cost Rs 825 crore, began with the foundation stone laid in 2019.

Design and Features:
The Sela Tunnel comprises two tubes measuring 1,003 meters and 1,595 meters, respectively, along with 8.6 km of approach and link roads. An escape tube adjacent to the main tunnel adheres to international safety norms, providing a safe passage for rescue operations during emergencies.

Capacity and Speed:
Designed to accommodate a traffic density of 3,000 cars and 2,000 trucks daily, the tunnel allows a maximum speed of 80 km/hour, ensuring efficient and rapid transit.

Economic and Strategic Impact:
The tunnel is expected to usher in economic prosperity for the Tawang region by fostering trade, tourism, and employment. It replaces the previous single-lane route fraught with dangerous bends, making it accessible for heavy vehicles and ensuring patient evacuation during harsh winters.

Construction Challenges:
The execution of the Sela Tunnel, dubbed as one of the most critical projects of the Border Roads Organisation (BRO), involved over 90 lakh man-hours, with an average of 650 personnel working daily for five years. The project consumed vast construction materials and faced numerous challenges, including extreme temperatures and water ingress, exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Strategic Importance:
The Indian Army’s significant presence in the Tawang district, near the Line of Actual Control (LAC) with China, underscores the tunnel’s strategic importance. It facilitates regular troop movement and addresses the challenges of heavy snowfall that often renders the Sela Pass inaccessible.

Sela Tunnel

Technological Advancements:
Equipped with a state-of-the-art electro-mechanical system, the Sela Tunnel features jet fan ventilation, firefighting devices, and a SCADA-controlled monitoring system to ensure safety and maintain high standards of air quality.

In conclusion, the Sela Tunnel stands as a testament to India’s commitment to bolstering its border infrastructure and enhancing the socio-economic landscape of the Northeastern region.