Govt invites fresh bids for Z-Morh tunnel

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

The Union government has invited fresh bids for Z-Morh tunnel that will provide all-weather connectivity to Sonmarg tourist resort.

The contract had been allotted to Infrastructure Leasing & Financial Services (IL&FS). But it was cancelled after the company reported financial stress.

The tunnel is being constructed near Gagangeer area of Sonamarg in Ganderbal district.

Official sources told Greater Kashmir that the National Highways and Infrastructure Development Corporation (NHIDCL), a wholly owned subsidiary of the Union road ministry, has invited fresh bids for the 6.5-km-long tunnel project at an estimated construction cost of Rs 2378 cr. A senior official of NHIDCL told Greater Kashmir that the bid due date is 1 August 2019.

“The government has entrusted to the authority the development, maintenance and management of Z-Morh tunnel project. The authority has resolved to augment construction, operation and maintenance of Z-Morh tunnel including approaches on Srinagar-Sonamarg section on design, build, finance, operate and transfer (DBFOT) annuity basis and has decided to carry out the bidding process for selection of a private entity as the bidder to whom the project may be awarded,” reads the bid issued by the NHIDCL.

The work on the tunnel commenced in May 2015 and the completion period for the project was five years. The project is unlikely to be completed by its May 2020 deadline.

The Srinagar Sonamarg Tunnelway, of which the Z-Morh is a part, was a joint venture project between IL&FS (ITNL) and Soma Infrastructure. It is learnt that 40% of work has been completed so far.