The Union Minister for Road Transport & Highways & Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs), Nitin Gadkari inaugurated the breakthrough event of Chamba Tunnel under Chardham Pariyojana through video conference on Tuesday. Border Roads Organisation (BRO) achieved this major milestone by digging up a 440 m long Tunnel below the busy Chamba town on Rishikesh-Dharasu road Highway (NH 94).
What makes the achievement noteworthy is the fact that the breakthrough was completed amid threat of COVID-19 and nationwide lockdown. The construction of tunnel was challenging also in terms of a weak soil strata, continuous water seepage, heavy built up area on surface and land acquisition issues.
Speaking on the occasion, Gadkari said the Rishikesh-Dharasu-Gangotri road in Uttarakhand had a very significant role from a socio-economic and religious perspective. He said, opening of this tunnel would ease out congestion though the Chamba town and reduce the distance by one kilometer. Once completed, the journey through the town will take only 10 minutes as compared to 30 minutes presently.
Gadkari lauded BRO for working in some of the very difficult terrain and ensuring the implementation of several critical projects. He said that he has been informed about completion of the project by October 2020, which is, three months ahead of schedule.
Director General of Border Roads Organisation, Lt Gen Harpal Singh said, BRO started the work on North Portal of this tunnel in Jan 2019 but work on South Portal could be started only after Oct 2019 due to stiff resistance from locals on account of safety concerns and compensation issues. To compensate for the loss in time, day and night working shifts along with use of modern technology facilitated the breakthrough.
BRO is a key stake holder in prestigious Chardham project and breakthrough of this tunnel has been achieved by Team Shivalik. Latest Austrian technology was used in its construction.
Under the prestigious 889 km Chardham Project costing around Rs 120 billion, BRO is constructing 250 km of national highways to the holy shrines of Gangotri and Badrinath. Majority of the works are progressing ahead of schedule.