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Narendra Modi will be first PM to take the tunnel from Race Course

Thursday, 29 May 2014 - 6:10am IST | Place: New Delhi | Agency: dna

In two months, Prime Minister Narendra Modi will set a record: he will become the first Indian PM to have an exclusive tunnel.

A one-and-a-half-kilometre long tunnel, which connects the PM's residence at Race Course Road with Safdarjung airport, is getting ready for Modi.

The tunnel runs through Kamal Ataturk Marg, Golf Course and Safdarjung Tomb. It will end at the helicopter hanger at Safdarjung, where it meets the ground.

It opens behind the Rajiv Gandhi Bhavan within the airport campus and is only visible from some parts of the building.

It's likely to be operational in two months and will provide Modi an emergency exit and a direct access to the airport.

Discussions on the tunnel started in 2010. The Central Public Works Department (CPWD), under the supervision of the Intelligence Bureau, started construction later that year.

The Special Protection Group (SPG) and the Directorate-General of Civil Aviation say the tunnel will not just provide secured passage to the PM, but will also ensure that traffic on the road is not put off gears by the movement of the PM's cavalcade.

CPWD reportedly hired the Delhi Metro Rail Corporation (DMRC) since it has expertise in digging tunnels. The agency is now giving the final touches to the passage.

Safdarjung airport serves as a conduit for flying VVIPs, including the Prime Minister, President, Vice President and other SPG-protected individuals to Indira Gandhi International Airport for their onward

To avoid security concerns at the main IGI terminal and to ensure that routine passenger movement is not disrupted at the airport, the SPG-protected individuals use Safdarjung airport. From here, they either board a helicopter or a single-engine small aircraft to IGI airport.

"Even the US and European countries have tunnels connecting the head of the state's residence to the airport by secret tunnels," said a senior officer.

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