Shimla: Grappling with a resource crunch, the Himachal government intends to construct 8 traffic tunnels under private public partnership mode with a build operate and transfer (BOT) proposition.
Participating in a debate initiated by Sukhwinder Singh Sukku (congress) in the Vidhan Sabha, chief minister Prem Kumar Dhumal said construction of these tunnels would drastically reduce distances. Two of the tunnels which are proposed in Shimla would ease traffic congestion, he added.
Keeping the states financial constraints in view and the importance of these tunnel projects, the government considers that BOT would be the best way to execute them said Dhumal.
One of tunnels which would connect Holi and Utrala in Chamba would reduce a 200 Km road journey to just 4.49 kilometers, said the chief minister. A tunnel under Tissa in Chamba has also been included as a infrastructure priority, he added.
Initiating the debate Sukkhu said that engineers needed to study tunnel design structures of developed European countries for improving connectivity. The congressman suggested that private consultants could be roped in to prepare feasibility and detailed project reports for the tunnel projects.
Thakur Gulab Singh, the public works minister in his reply said that a decision to construct 8 tunnels had been taken. Two tunnels in Shimla would connect Himfed petrol pump area with IGMC hospital and another tunnel from Himfed would connect up with the Combermere Lift.
Detailed Project Reports (DPRs) for both tunnels had been prepared and their distance would be 860 metres and 1.14 kilometres, respectively he said.
The other tunnels were frome Kainchi Mor to Mehla on Swarghat Bilaspur Bye-Pass; under Ranital in Kangra; Bangana to Dhaneta (Una and Hamirpur), Karsehar to Telang (Mandi and Kullu); Holi to Utrala in Chamba and under Khara-Pathar in Shimla.
To fund these tunnel constructions, the state through the department of Economic Affairs has put forth a proposal before the Asian Development Bank and World Bank. The 13th Finance Commission has also been requested to consider providing requisite funds for these vital infrastrcutre projects, said Gulab Singh same.
Otheres who participated in the discussion included congress legislators Thakur Kaul Singh, GS Bali, Surender Bhardwaj, Kuldeep Singh Pathania and BJP MLAs Randheer Sharma, Suresh Bhardwaj, Virender Kanwar and Renu Chaddha.