Junior defence minister Bhamre (in suit at centre) poses with officers after inaugurating the Theng Tunnel in North Sikkim.
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Siliguri: Sikkim today got its longest road tunnel on the state highway from Gangtok to Chungthang.

Minister of state for defence, Subhash Ramrao Bhamre, inaugurated the 578-meter double lane Theng Tunnel at Chungthang end today. He was accompanied by Lt Gen PM Bali, the GOC of 33 Corps headquartered at Sukna off Siliguri.

Theng Tunnel has been constructed by the Border Roads Organisation. It bypasses a treacherous road stretch between Gangtok and Chungthang, which is prone to landslides and rocks rolling down from above.

Besides shortening the distance, the newly inaugurated tunnel will ensure improved operational mobility to the Indian Army to North Sikkim and also benefit tourists and local people.

To inaugurate the tunnel, Bhamre arrived at Bagdogra Airport this morning and straightway headed to Chungthang.

Later in the day, the minister called on the Governor of Sikkim, Shriniwas Patil in Gangtok. Before departing for Delhi in the afternoon, he visited Sukna Cantonment where he was briefed by the GOC on the operational situation along the China border.