Tunnel Caves In, Kashmir Rail Project On Hold
7 September 2007
New Delhi: The Rs 11,000 crore rail project that promises to be an economic lifeline for the Kashmir valley suffered a setback when a portion of the three kilometre tunnel near Udhampur caved in, and seepage problem hampering progress in three other tunnels. Work on the four tunnels have been halted temporarily, and Northern Railway officals are now awaiting the arrival of a six-member Austrian expert team on September 10 to assist in rebuilding the tunnels. 'About 800m of the tunnel near Udhampur caved in after the completion of the work due to squeezing pressure,' B P Khare, chief administrative officer, Northern Railway, said. 'This is a geological problem as soil having swelling characteristic gave way in the middle of the tunnel. Work has stopped there. Work on another terminal near Udhampur has suffered due to severe seepage problem.' It had cost about Rs 50 crore to construct the three-km long tunnel near Udhampur. The total length of the Udhampur-Srinagar-Baramulla railway link is 120.44 km, and 80% of the route is covered through tunnels. The project is being jointly carried out by Northern Railway, Konkan Railway and IRCON. Konkan Railway, which is involved in construction of part of the project connecting the 92 km long Katra-Laoli link, has faced similar seepage problems in two tunnels near Reasi and Sangaldan.