Fate of Zojila tunnel hangs in balance
Inordinate delay in preparing DPR
Jammu, Feb 4: The fate of ambitious 15 kilometer Zojila tunnel project on Srinagar -Ladakh road hangs in balance as the private agency engaged by the government has failed to submit the Detailed Project Report even after lapse of three years.
The construction of tunnel to provide all weather connectivity to the people of the Ladakh region is part of the Prime Minister’s Reconstruction Plan (PMRP) – the term of which has already expired and state government was mulling to seek another extension from the union government.
Sources said that in April 2009, the contract for feasibility survey for Zojila Tunnel was awarded to M/s iBilt Technology, New Delhi through global tenders and the study was to be completed in October, 2010 following which the report was to be submitted to the state government.
For this purpose, Rs 30 crores was sanctioned to the Contractor Company, sources said, adding that the study was to be undertaken under the supervision of Beacon.
However, if sources are to be believed the consultant company was delaying the preparation of the DPR on one pretext or the other delaying the prestigious project.
Admitting the delay, the Transport Minister, Qamar Ali Akhoon told Greater Kashmir that in year 2009, an agency was engaged for making a Feasibility Report for construction of the tunnel in October 2010. “On completion of 18 months, Beacon authorities told the Transport department that the DPR would be submitted by March 2011 but it again extended the time frame by almost 9 months.”
“Now they have informed that the DPR would be submitted by March 2012. It is Beacon and iBilt Technology, who was mainly responsible for causing inordinate delay”, the minister said.
He said by construction of the 15 kilometer of Zojila tunnel (12 kilometer near Baltal and 3 kilometer near Sonamarg) people of Ladakh and Kargil would be greatly benefited. “About 80 percent of their sufferings would be addressed by construction of this tunnel,” he said.
Sources added that the Zojila route came into prominence only after the Indo-Pak conflict of 1947 when the state of Jammu and Kashmir was divided in two parts by the Line of Actual Control.
After many decades in March 2007, on demand of people, the Parliament of India approved the construction of a 12 kilometre long tunnel at a cost of Rs 1333 crores. At that time the Feasibility Report on tunnel and its design was to be completed by June 2008. And now as the Feasibility Report has been delayed by almost 3 years, actual cost of the project is likely to increase manifold.
Lastupdate on : Sat, 4 Feb 2012 21:30:00 Makkah time
Lastupdate on : Sat, 4 Feb 2012 18:30:00 GMT
Lastupdate on : Sun, 5 Feb 2012 00:00:00 IST
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