Zojila Project Milestone: Five Kilometre Long Mountain Tunnelling Work Completed In 14 Months

by Arun Kumar Das - Jan 17, 2022 10:51 AM +05:30 IST
Zojila Project Milestone: Five Kilometre Long Mountain Tunnelling Work Completed In 14 Months

Drilling work in Zojila tunnel project (7 January 2022)
Snapshot
  • The project featuring several engineering feats is expected to improve socio-economic conditions, transport, and tourism of Jammu and Kashmir and Ladakh.

Hyderabad-based Megha Engineering & Infrastructures Limited (MEIL) has achieved a milestone of completing works of a 5-km-long tunnelling work, as part of the 18-km-long all-weather Zojila Tunnels in a record 14 months.

National Highways and Infrastructure Development Corporation Ltd (NHIDCL) project being executed by the MEIL, is envisaged to ensure connectivity between Srinagar and Ladakh throughout the year without any interruptions.

The Zojila Tunnels — Nilgrar 1, 2 and Zojila main tunnel — is being expeditiously executed, despite unfavourable weather conditions like snowfall, and blizzards at a high altitude of 3,528 metres above mean sea level.

Zojila project, Asia's longest bidirectional tunnel, is a challenging development project in India for strategic reasons too.

Zojila Tunnel Project Head Harpal Singh said, "our team has executed this project in toughest conditions with dedication and hard work."

The current winter witnessed the highest-ever snowfall in the history of Jammu and Kashmir with temperatures dropping to -30 degrees Celsius (minus 30 degrees).

The project consists of three tunnels, four bridges, snow protection structures, culverts, catch dam, deflector dam, cover tunnel, and many such engineering feats.

During an earlier visit, Union Minister for Road and Transport Nitin Gadkari had lauded the efforts of the MEIL in executing the project at a fast pace.

The minister had said that this project would improve socio-economic conditions, transport, and tourism of Jammu and Kashmir and Ladakh.

The Infrastructure major was awarded the all-weather connectivity project (Zojila project) connecting Kashmir valley to Ladakh on 1 October 2020. The total length of the project is 32 kilometres and is divided into two parts.

The Part I of the project’s 18 km connects Sonamarg and Taltal, having major bridges and twin tunnels. Tunnel T1 has two tubes planned in it.

MEIL began the project work in the month of May 2021, after the construction of access roads. Tunnelling through the Himalayas is always a daunting task, but MEIL has bored both tunnels with the highest standard of safety, quality, and speed within a specific time schedule.

Works at Zojila Main Tunnel, which is 13.3-km-long, are also in full swing. MEIL has achieved 600 metres advance from Ladakh, and 300m advance from Kashmir's side. Completion of the project (September 2026) is on track and on schedule.

Arun Kumar Das is a senior journalist covering railways. He can be contacted at akdas2005@gmail.com.


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