Vehicles carrying petroleum products including petrol, diesel, kerosene and LPG can now use Atal Tunnel as the Centre has given nod to open the tunnel for inflammable products under certain standard operating procedure once a week.
The 9.02-km-long tunnel was opened to general traffic on October 3. But the vehicles carrying inflammable products and explosives were not allowed to use the tunnel due to security reasons. These vehicles were bound to use the old highway via Rohtang pass which consumes 3 to 4 hours extra travel time. Now, Rohtang pass has been closed after heavy snowfall and will open next year, the Border Roads Organisation (BRO) has said that petroleum products can be transported through the tunnel once a week.
Most of the petroleum supply to Ladakh and Lahaul has already been sent via Rohtang pass. Only a few vehicles will be plying through the tunnel till the next summer season. Letting petroleum vehicles through tunnel will ensure adequate supply in Lahaul valley even after snowfall.
A BRO official said Wednesday has been fixed as a day when vehicles carrying petroleum vehicles can ply through the tunnel. “As per directions from the Centre, petroleum vehicles can also use the tunnel.