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Centre forms 3-member panel to investigate Ramban tunnel collapse

Rescue operation underway on the second consecutive day to save labourers trapped under debris following the collapse of an under-construction tunnel on the Jammu-Srinagar national highway

Rescue operation underway on the second consecutive day to save labourers trapped under debris following the collapse of an under-construction tunnel on the Jammu-Srinagar national highway | Photo Credit: PTI

The Centre has constituted a committee of three independent experts to investigate the reasons for recent collapse of a part of under-construction tunnel in Ramban on Jammu-Srinagar highway and suggest remedial measures.

State-owned National Highways Authority of India (NHAI) has already initiated process to handle such emergency situation and also taking all possible measures to avoid such incidents in future, an official statement said on Sunday.

"A committee of 3 independent eminent experts has been constituted by the Central government which has already moved to the site to investigate the reasons for slide/collapse and remedial measures thereof... Further action will be taken based on report of committee," it said.

According to the Ministry of Road Transport and Highways (MoRTH) office order, Professor J.T. Sahu of IIT Delhi will be the chairman of the committee, and it will submit the report to the ministry within 10 days.

According to the official statement, the stretch between Digdole and Khooni Nallah of Ramban Banihal section is prone to frequent landslide and shooting stones due to fragile geology. 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 three packages in Ramban-Banihal section, it said.

"On 19.05.2022 around 10.30 to 11 p.m., landslide and shooting of stones started while the execution of portal support installation work of adit at Khooni Nallah was also being done. Before workers could be moved out, suddenly huge rock mass fell above the false steel portal erected for construction of adit which caved in leading to trapping of 12 workers at that spot," the statement said.

Senior NHAI officers immediately reached the site and rescue work was immediately started by SDRF, NDRF, J&K Police, the statement said, adding two workers were rescued immediately and were hospitalized; and all possible medical aid is being extended to them.

It said the trapped workers did not survive and bodies of 10 trapped workers were recovered by last Saturday evening.

Those whose life could not be saved are being given workman compensation and additional ex-gratia of ₹2 lakh by EPC contractor which amounts to at least ₹15 lakh.

The injured are also being adequately compensated and in addition, the UT administration has announced ex-gratia relief of ₹1 lakh.

It is yet to be determined whether the incident occurred due to work being executed or due to natural reasons, the statement added.

The twin tube tunnel work in 4-laning from Digdole to Panthyal on Jammu-Srinagar highway was awarded to Ceigall India Limited in JV with Patel Engineering Limited. The construction work started on February 1, 2022.


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Printable version | Jun 6, 2022 2:26:59 am | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/other-states/centre-forms-3-member-panel-to-investigate-ramban-tunnel-collapse/article65447340.ece