NEW DELHI, May 26:
Union Minister Nitin Gadkari on Tuesday lauded the Border Roads Organisation (BRO) for achieving breakthrough in the 440-metre long tunnel below the busy Chamba town and termed it as an ‘extraordinary feat’ in nation-building during the pandemic.
The BRO achieved the major milestone by successfully digging up the 440-metre long tunnel below the busy Chamba town on Rishikesh-Dharasu road, National Highway no 94, which will facilitate all-weather connectivity to Chardham — Gangotri, Kedarnath, Yamunotri and Badrinath — a Rs 12,000 crore ambitious project.
“I congratulate the entire BRO team for their extraordinary feat in nation-building amidst this global pandemic… Ever since the catastrophe that hit Kedarnath, we were committed for an all-weather connectivity to Chardham and this is an important milestone,” Road Transport, Highways Minister Gadkari said while inaugurating the breakthrough event of Chamba Tunnel through video conference mode.
The breakthrough was completed amidst threat of COVID-19 and nationwide lockdown, the Minister said.
He said the breakthrough of this tunnel will go a long way in facilitating speedy movement of traffic, reducing congestion and distance to Chamba town and easing the movement of yatris on Chardham Yatra and bring economic prosperity.
He said the latest Austrian technology has been used in construction of the Chamba tunnel. The tunnel will be through for traffic by October 2020 almost three months before its scheduled date of completion of January 2021, he said.
He said BRO has been working in some of the very difficult terrain and ensuring implementation of critical projects.
Director General of BRO Lt Gen Harpal Singh said, BRO started the work on North Portal of this tunnel in January 2019 but work on South Portal could be started only after October 2019 due to stiff resistance from locals on account of safety concerns and compensation issues.
The loss in time was compensated by day and night working shifts along with use of modern technology, he said.
The Chamba tunnel is a Horse shoe type tunnel with 10 metre carriage way width and 5.5 metre vertical clearance. The sanctioned cost of this tunnel is Rs 107.07 crore and awarded cost is Rs 86 crore, including Rs 43 crore for tunnel and Rs 43 crore for 4.2 Km approach roads to tunnel.
Gadkari said BRO has been entrusted with 251 km and this consists of 17 packages out of which 10 projects of 151 km have been sanctioned.
These include five projects of 99 km length on Rishikesh – Dharasu( NH-94), two projects for constructing 22 km on Dharasu- Gangotri Highway (NH-108) and three projects for constructing 32 km on Joshimath to Mana (NH-58) road.
BRO is slated to complete four projects aggregating a length of 53 Km out of 10 ongoing projects ahead of their scheduled between June and October 2020, the statement said. The Minister asked the BRO to be ready with all preliminary works related to remaining packages which were stuck as they fell in ecological sensitive zone and a high-powered committee report was awaited, assuring that he will get in touch with concerned authorities to expedite the same.
He also asked the BRO to ensure beautification drive along the highway including plantation of green species besides other methods. (PTI)