Third party to carry out inspection, safety audit of 12 under-construction Himachal tunnels: NHAI

Third party to carry out inspection, safety audit of 12 under-construction Himachal tunnels: NHAI

Shimla, Nov 24 (PTI) Inspection and safety audit of 12 under-construction tunnels in Himachal Pradesh will be carried out by a third party and vertical drilling machines will be stationed near tunnels to be used in case an Uttarakhand-like situation arises, according to an NHAI official.

National Highway Authority of India (NHAI) Regional Officer Abdul Basit on Friday said the safety audit will analyse all factors from rock stability to material used in the constructions and remedial steps would be taken as per suggestions in view of the Uttarkashi Silkyara tunnel incident in which 41 workers have been trapped for the past 13 days.

A total of 68 tunnels measuring 85 km, which would reduce the road distance by about 130 km, would come up in the state, he told PTI on Friday.

Of these, 12 have been constructed, 12 are under construction, work on 14 would start in six months while detailed project reports are being prepared for 30, he said.

'We have given suggestion to put vertical pipes at tunnel construction locations for supplying oxygen and food in case a similar tragedy strikes,' he said.

The NHAI officials visited some under-construction tunnels and interacted with workers, directed contractors to have a list of machinery available in nearby areas so that in case of an emergency, these can be made available at the site without losing time.

Warning that no laxity in safety will be tolerated, he asked project directors to conduct mock drills and check the preparedness of evacuation plans.

In 2015, two of three labourers were trapped inside the under-construction tunnel (No. 4) of Kiratpur-Nerchowk four-lane project in Himachal's Bilaspur after a portion of the tunnel collapsed on September 12. They were rescued after nine days.

A tunnel about 1.2-metre diameter was dug vertically to reach the trapped persons and rescue them. PTI BPL  TRB

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