The Centre has given in-principle approval to construct a strategic tunnel under the Brahmaputra River which will link Gohpur and Numaligarh towns in Assam.
This is the first time that India will be constructing a four-lane under-river tunnel, and it will close to the Chinese border. It will be longer than the underwater tunnel being built by China below the Taihu Lake in Jiangsu province, according to a report.
The report stated that the proposed tunnel in India is going to be very important strategically as it will provide year-long connectivity between Assam and Arunachal Pradesh. It will also help in transporting military supplies and ammunition as vehicles will be able to zoom past the tunnel at 80 kmph.
The National Highways and Infrastructure Development Corporation Limited (NHAIDCL) has roped in America's Louis Berger company; in fact, the central government had approved its detailed project report in March.
A senior official of NHAIDCL while quoted by a national daily said that the construction of the 14.85 km long tunnel will begin in December. It will be built in three phases.
The official further informed that the tunnel in China's Jiangsu province will be 10.79 km long. He also said that various strong safety measures have been put in place in the design to stop water from entering the tunnel.
It will also have ventilation system, fire-fighting mechanism, footpath, drainage system, emergency exit etc. and will also be equipped with crash barriers.
The Army had asked the government to consider building tunnels akin to the English Channel under the Brahmaputra because bridges can be targeted by enemy forces.
This comes amid the tension between India and China along with Line of Actual Control (LAC) after a face-off between the soldiers of the two countries in Ladakh's Galwan Valley. India had lost 20 soldiers in the skirmish; China officially did not announce the number of casualties.
Efforts have been on by both countries since the June 15 clash to ease tensions. A fourth-round of meeting between the Lieutenant Generals of the two countries is scheduled to take place today.