Atal Tunnel: Congress demands search of the missing stone laid by Sonia Gandhi
India

Atal Tunnel: Congress demands search of the missing stone laid by Sonia Gandhi

Congress said that Sonia Gandhi had laid the foundation stone for the Rohtang Tunnel project on June 28, 2010

Akshay Badwe

The Congress in Himachal Pradesh has threatened to launch a protest against the removal of party supremo Sonia Gandhi's inaugural plaque from the recently inaugurated Atal Tunnel in the state.

The Congress said that Sonia Gandhi had laid the foundation stone for the Rohtang Tunnel project on June 28, 2010, at Dhoondi in Manali, which is now named Atal Tunnel.

"This is ridiculous and petty politics. The project was sanctioned by the UPA government when Manmohan Singh was Prime Minister and A.K. Antony was the Defence Minister," Congress MLA Asha Kumari said from Dharamshala.

Asha Kumari said that the grant was given by the UPA government. At that time the cost of the project was Rs 3,200 crore and half the amount was immediately released. She said that BRO was constructing the tunnel and alleged that it could be in connivance of State and Union Government both. We will take this matter up with the Chief Minister, she said.

During the foundation stone laying ceremony even Prem Kumar Dhumal was also present, who was the Chief Minister.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi had on October 3 inaugurated the all-weather Atal Tunnel across the Rohtang Pass. After the Inauguration of the tunnel political temperature has increased as Himachal Congress leader Gyalchan Thakur filed a complaint at Keylong police station alleging that the foundation plaque bearing Sonia Gandhi's name was removed ahead of the Atal Tunnel inauguration.

"This is undemocratic and mischief of BJP leaders," Gyalchan Thakur, Chief of Congress of Lahaul-Spiti Congress said.

Himachal Congress President Kuldeep Rathore has written a letter to the Chief Minister Jairam Thakur. Rathore said the removal of foundation plaque was "illegal" and demanded action against those involved "in this unholy work". He threatened to launch a state-wide protest if the Sonia plaque was not restored with 15 days.

"If the missing foundation stone is not re-installed, Congress will hold a state-wide agitation against the government," he said

The 9.02 km-long horseshoe-shaped single-tube, two-lane tunnel -- the world's longest motorable tunnel at over 3,000 metre above the sea level, came up under the 3,978 metre Rohtang Pass in the Pir Panjal range some 30 km from here in Himachal Pradesh.

The tunnel connects this tourist resort to the Lahaul Valley throughout the year. Earlier, the valley was cut off for about six months each year owing to heavy snowfall and snapping of road link via the Rohtang Pass.

(With inputs from IANS)

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