Shimla, July 27 (IANS) The Himachal Pradesh government Friday gave green signal to construction of two mega all-weather tunnels at a cost of Rs.500 crore.
The state cabinet, in a meeting chaired by Chief Minister Prem Kumar Dhumal, gave its approval to the Bhubbu Jot and Bangana-Dhaneta tunnel projects, a government spokesperson told IANS.
The 2.8-km Bhubbu Jot tunnel on the Jogindernagar-Ghatasni-Shilh Bhadwani-Kullu-Telang road would be constructed at an estimated cost of Rs.367 crore, he said.
The Bhubbu Jot pass in Kullu district remains covered with heavy snow from December to March every year. The tunnel beneath the pass would provide all-weather road connectivity.
Similarly, the Bangana-Dhaneta tunnel in Una district would be constructed at an estimated cost of Rs.145 crore, the official said.
The tunnel would facilitate pilgrims and tourists visiting Naina Devi, Jawalamukhi, Chintpurni and Deothsidh shrines.
"With the construction of this tunnel, the distance between Bangana to Dhaneta would be reduced by seven kilometres," the official said.
The state government has awarded the contract to Austrian consultancy Bernard Ingenieure to conduct feasibility study and prepare detailed project reports on the tunnels.
The state Public Works Department would construct the tunnels.
The other mega tunnel the government is planning to construct is Holi-Utrala. The tunnel will be 6.5-km long and would link Chamba district with Kangra district.
Officials said the tunnel would link Utrala near Baijnath in Kangra with Holi in Bharmour town in Chamba, reducing the road distance by over 180 km.
The Austrian agency is doing the feasibility study of this proposed tunnel too.