Four tunnels under scanner, questions over quality control

Jaswinder Singh Baidwan

Akhran da mureed
Staff member
After the collapse of the 1.2-km Tihra tunnel on September 12, the other four tunnels being constructed at Kenchi Morh and Tanu, both in Bilaspur district, and Bawana-Kangu tunnel near Sundarnagar have come under the scanner of the Ministry of Surface Transport.
The collapse of the Tihra tunnel has raised questions about the quality control and standard operating procedures (SOPs) in construction.
Though the NHAI has appointed Jatinsa as the quality control agency of the fourlane highway project, its role has come under scanner after the Tihra tunnel collapse, revealed officials.
These concerns are more serious as Mumbai firm IL&FS, contractor firm of the NHAI which is executing the fourlane national highway project, have sublet works to other companies, which further have hired local contractors, who are executing the tunnel works and have little experience.
Satish Tomar and Mani Ram worked as helpers with a local sub-contractor of Himalaya Construction Company which is constructing the Tihra tunnel.
The similar reports of cracks and minor mishaps have been reported from the Kangu-Bhawana highway tunnel near Sundarnagar and the Kenchi Morh-Vahal tunnel on the Khara Morha- awarhat section on the highway.
On the other hand, the NHAI and IL&FS have kept the collapse of the tunnel a guarded secret saying that they have set up a material testing lab and geologists to guide the construction.
When IL&FS senior geologist JS Rathaur was quizzed on the tunnel mishap, he refused to comment saying that the company would first do its investigation with the help of four tunnel experts before coming out with a statement as there could be many reasons for the sudden collapse.
GM, NHAI, Satish Kaul said Jatinsa was responsible for monitoring the quality of construction of the highway project. “The geological investigation were done before the work started”, he added.