Was Prime Minister Modi waving at a non-existent crowd in the Atal tunnel?
PM Modi loves to be photographed. And he also loves to wave his hand at both visible and invisible people. So, when he waved his hands in an empty tunnel on Saturday, people cracked up on Twitter
Prime Minister Narendra Modi inaugurated the 9.02 km-long Atal Tunnel in Rohtang on Saturday. Work on the world’s longest highway tunnel above an altitude of 10,000 feet began in 2010 and will reduce travelling time between Manali and Leh by four to five hours.
But neither the strategic significance of the tunnel nor the stupendous engineering feat by Border Roads Organization caught the attention of people. Nor did the PM Modi’s political speech at the inauguration ( he does it at almost every official function) caught much attention.
What did catch attention was the PM’s decision to inaugurate the tunnel himself ( it could have been done by the Himachal Pradesh Chief Minister, the Defence Minister or even the President of India, if not an engineer of the BRO) at a time of turmoil—and his vigorous wave at non-existent people while walking and driving through the tunnel.
Is he all there / Is he alright, asked several people on Twitter. Why would he have waved at non-existent people ? He was generating a Modi wave, wisecracked someone while others speculated that he could be waving at the security personnel and photographers moving in front. Here are some of the Twitter links:
Former Ambassador K.C. Singh suggested that the PM could have actually flagged traffic through the tunnel and waved at the vehicles. Or perhaps he could have waved a military convoy through the tunnel?
The decision to construct the strategic tunnel below the Rohtang Pass was taken in the year 2000 when Atal Bihari Vajpayee was the Prime Minister.
- The feasibility study for the Atal Tunnel was first done in 1990. The foundation stone for the access road to the south portal of the tunnel was laid on May 6, 2002. The first blast took place in 2010 and the last blast in 2017.
- The 9.02 km long tunnel connects Manali to Lahaul-Spiti valley throughout the year. Earlier the road remained unusable for about six months every year owing to snowfall.
- It reduces the road distance by 46 km between Manali and Leh and the time by about four to five hours.
- Atal Tunnel has been designed for traffic density of 3000 cars per day and 1,500 trucks per day with max speed of 80 km/hr.