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Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Saturday dedicated to the nation the Sela Tunnel built at an altitude of 13,000 feet in Arunachal Pradesh that will provide all-weather connectivity to strategically located Tawang and is expected to ensure better movement of troops along the frontier region.

The Rs 825 crore tunnel, constructed on the road connecting Assam’s Tezpur to West Kameng district of Arunachal Pradesh, is being billed as the longest bi-lane road tunnel in the world at such an altitude. The Sela Tunnel will provide for better movement of troops and weaponry to various forward locations along the Line of Actual Control (LAC) with China, according to military officials.

The prime minister virtually inaugurated the tunnel project during the ‘Viksit Bharat, Viksit North East’ programme in Itanagar.

In Delhi, the defence ministry said the tunnel will provide all-weather connectivity to Tawang across Sela pass on the Balipara-Chariduar-Tawang road, boosting the preparedness of the armed forces and augmenting the socio-economic development of the border region.

In his address, Modi voiced the government’s unwavering commitment to the development of the Northeast region and said the Sela Tunnel will provide all-weather connectivity and improve the ease of travel for the people of Tawang.

Work on many tunnels is going on in the region, he added, according to a statement released by the defence ministry.

Modi criticised the earlier neglect of the border villages and reiterated his style of working is as per the needs of the nation and not for electoral considerations.

The prime minister promised the defence personnel that he would come to meet them at this engineering marvel in his next term.

Arunachal Pradesh Chief Minister Pema Khandu and Minister of Earth Sciences Kiren Rijiju were among the dignitaries present during the inauguration ceremony.

The Sela Tunnel has been constructed using the new Austrian tunnelling method and incorporates safety features of the highest standards.

The project will provide a faster and more efficient transport route in the region and prove to be of strategic importance to the country, the ministry said in a statement.

The foundation stone of the tunnel was laid by Modi on February 9, 2019, and the construction commenced on April 1 that year.

The tunnel, built by the Border Roads Organisation (BRO), has been completed in just five years overcoming challenges of difficult terrain and adverse weather conditions, the ministry said.

The BRO has always been at the forefront of the development of the border areas, the ministry said.

In the last three years, the BRO has completed a record 330 infrastructure projects constructed at a cost of Rs 8,737 crore, it said.