Centre sets up expert committee to look into Khooni Nallah tunnel in Kashmir

Khooni Nallah

New Delhi: The Central government has constituted a three-member expert committee to investigate the causes of landslide and collapse of an under construction tunnel between Digdole and Khooni Nallah of Ramban Banihal section of the Jammu Srinagar Highways.

As many as ten workers had died when a section of the tunnel caved in on May 19 night. The expert committee would also make recommendations about the ways and strategy to check and prevent recurrence of such mishaps in the areas prone to frequent landslides and shooting stones due to fragile geology, said an statement from the Ministry of Road Transport and Highways (MoRTH) issue on Sunday.

Considering the strategic importance of maintaining all weather connectivity to Srinagar and after assessing the challenges in ensuring stability of hill slopes on existing alignment, tunnels/viaducts are proposed under 3 packages in Ramban Banihal section.

The Twin tube tunnel work in 4-laning from Digdole to Panthyal on Jammu Srinagar Highway was awarded to M/s Ceigall India Limited in JV with Patel Engineering Limited. The construction work started on 1st February 2022.

Two workers are rescued immediately and were hospitalized. The rescue work was hampered by intermittent shooting stones and bad weather. The trapped workers did not survive and bodies of 10 trapped workers were recovered by last evening.

Family of those who lost lives are being given workman compensation and additional ex-gratia of Rs 2lakh by EPC contractor, which amounts to at least Rs 15 lakh. The injured are also being adequately compensated. In addition, the UT administration has also announced ex- gratia relief of Rs 1lakh.

It is yet to be determined whether the occurrence of the incidence is due to work being executed or due to natural reasons.

Further action will be taken based on report of the committee. NHAI has already initiated process to handle such emergency situation and also taking all possible measures to avoid such mishappening in future.

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