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Sunday, July 21, 2024

Government Initiates Overhaul of Tunnel Construction Safety Procedures After Silkyara Tunnel Collapse

In response to the collapse of the Silkyara tunnel during construction, the government has announced its intention to revamp the standard operating procedures (SOPs) for tunnel construction. The incident, which occurred in November last year, led to 41 workers being stranded for over two weeks. Despite the setbacks, Road Transport and Highways Secretary Anurag Jain assured the public that the Silkyara tunnel project in Uttarkashi is still viable, emphasizing the government’s commitment to its completion.

An expert panel, tasked with investigating the collapse, identified several deficiencies in the project. Secretary Anurag Jain acknowledged the lessons learned from the incident and stressed the importance of implementing corrective measures to prevent similar mishaps in the future.

To address these concerns and enhance safety standards, the Ministry of Road Transport and Highways (MoRTH) established a five-member committee. This committee has recommended changes to the SOPs for tunnel construction, and the government has pledged to adopt and implement these suggestions.

The National Highways and Infrastructure Development Corporation Ltd (NHIDCL), working in collaboration with Hyderabad-based Navayuga Engineering Company Ltd, is responsible for the construction of the Silkyara-Barkot tunnel. This tunnel, featuring a single-tube design with interconnected corridors, is a crucial component of the 900-kilometer Char Dham Yatra all-weather road project. The road aims to improve connectivity to the four pilgrimage sites in Uttarakhand and remains a priority for completion despite the challenges faced during the Silkyara tunnel construction.

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