Govt foreclosing concession pact for Z-Morh tunnel

Construction of Z-Morh tunnel halted due to financial crunch of executing agency

The National Highways and Infrastructure Development Corporation (NHIDCL) is in the process of foreclosing concession agreement for Z-Morh tunnel project in Jammu and Kashmir, Parliament was informed Thursday.

Z-Morh tunnel would provide all-weather road connectivity to Sonamarg tourist spot in Jammu and Kashmir which mostly remains closed during the winters due to heavy snowfall.

Fresh tenders have been invited for the project and August 1, 2019 is the due date for bidding, Road Transport and Highways Minister Nitin Gadkari said in a written reply to the Lok Sabha.

The project was allotted to Infrastructure Leasing & Financial Services (IL&FS), but the contractor abandoned the project after IL&FS Group faced financial crisis.

“The Z-Morh tunnel project was awarded on BOT (annuity) basis with concession period of 20 years including 5 years of construction period. But, due to financial crisis of IL&FS group of companies, the concessionaire stopped all work w.e.f 20.7.2018,” he said.

The Minister said NHIDCL is in the process of foreclosing concession agreement and the project has already been re-tendered on June 24. The construction period for the project would be 42 months from the appointed date, he said.