Manali: Battling geological surprises to pierce through bad rock quality and achieve a breakthrough of connecting the south face of Rohtang Tunnel with the north face by 2017 summer, top army brass today inspected the site to study the progress made.
Lieutenant General Suresh Sharma, AVSM, and Director General Border Roads was accompanied by Brigadier DN Bhatt, project head of Rohtang Tunnel, Colonel Sanjay Thapliyal and others during the site visit.
Speaking on the occasion Lt Gen Suresh Sharma emphasised on the urgency of completing construction of the tunnel in a tighter time frame.
“The nation was waiting eagerly for the tunnel to be completed and start taking vehicular traffic as soon as possible,” he said.
Brigadier Bhatt pointed out the weak rock formations being encountered that was slowing down progress for the excavated part needed to be strengthened before moving ahead. He also disclosed that the ventilation system in the tunnel has only recently been upgraded .
A new bailey bridge connecting the north portal has been laid as the old one had collapsed about a month ago. Brig Bhatt said that work from north portal side of the tunnel had been resumed.
Col Thapliyal, Director Rohtang Tunnel, Sunil Tyagi, Project Manager, SAJV and Mr Gary Hemphil, Team Leader, D2 ICT also presented their viewpoints before the visiting general.
The important tunnel that would provide all year around road link to the Lahaul valley and open up another strategic access route to Leh, Ladhak is running behind schedule and is now targeted to be completed by 2019.
Sanjay Dutta, an engineer by qualification but is a journalist by choice.
He has worked for the premier new agency Press Trust of India and leading English daily Indian Express.
With more than a decade of experience, he has been highlighting issues related to environment, tourism and other aspects affecting mountain ecology.
Sanjay Dutta lives in a village close to Manali in Kullu valley of Himachal.