Silkyara Tunnel: Green Signal to Restart Work; Show-cause Notices Issued to NHIDCL Officials


All 41 workers trapped inside the collapsed portion of the Silkyara tunnel were rescued in a multi-agency operation. (Image: ANI)

All 41 workers trapped inside the collapsed portion of the Silkyara tunnel were rescued in a multi-agency operation. (Image: ANI)

The ministry of road transport and highways said it has served show-cause notices to several officials, including DPR consultant and EPC contractor, based on a report by an expert committee that inspected the Silkyara tunnel collapse site

Show-cause notices have been served to several officials, including the detailed project report consultant, based on the report of an expert committee that inspected the site of the collapsed part of the Silkyara tunnel in Uttarakhand. Directions have also been issued to resume pending work on the project by observing necessary safeguards, the ministry of road transport and highways told the Lok Sabha on Thursday.

“Based on the preliminary report, show-cause notices have been issued to DPR consultant, authority’s engineer, EPC (engineering, procurement and construction) contractor and project supervisory officials of the NHIDCL for the shortcomings pointed out by the committee,” it said.

The ministry further said the National Highways Authority of India (NHAI) has conducted a preliminary safety audit of all existing and ongoing tunnel projects across India. “The NHAI has signed MoUs with DMRC/KRCL for detailed safety audit of critical tunnels in the state of Himachal Pradesh, UT of Jammu and Kashmir and Delhi,” it added.

In a separate reply, the ministry also informed the Lok Sabha that at least six tunnel projects, at least 30 km in collective length, are under bidding while 41 projects with a collective length of 101 km, are under construction across the country.

Jammu and Kashmir has the highest share among these – three under bidding and 12 under-construction tunnels, with a collective length of about 58 km, the ministry said.

The Silkyara tunnel collapse

On November 12, a portion of the under-construction Silkyara tunnel collapsed leaving debris in a 60-m stretch at the entrance and with 41 workers trapped inside. After being stuck inside for 17 days, they were rescued on November 28 last year.

The 4.5-km two-lane bidirectional tunnel is being constructed as part of the ‘Char Dham Mahamarg Pariyojana’, and will join the Gangotri and Yamunotri axis under the Radi pass. The total cost sanctioned for the project in March 2018 is Rs 1,383 crore.

The construction of the tunnel will ease the journey for pilgrims as it will provide all-weather connectivity and reduce a 25.6-km snow-affected length of NH134 (Dharasu-Barkot-Yamunotri road) to 4.5 km, resulting in reduction of travel time to five minutes from 50 minutes.

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