HCC to bid for Arpinchala-Dharam railway project in J&K

Banihal (J&K)
: Undeterred by challenges it faced while executing two big-ticket infra projects here, Hindustan Construction Company will bid for such upcoming works in this region like the 13-km Arpinchala-Dharam underground railway project.

The Mumbai-based firm has recently executed the 11-km long Pir Panjal railway tunnel, the third longest in the world, and also the Uri-II hydro power project in Jammu and Kashmir.

The company is set to bid for the 13-km long Arpinchala- Dharam project as well, the official said.

“The Banihal-Qazigund railway tunnel, the longest in the country, was awarded to us in 2005. The track is now ready for the Railways. The amount of challenges we had to face was mind-boggling.

“However, that does not deter us from bidding for more projects and we are, in fact, working on the same route that will connect between Dharam-Sumbar. We will bid for more projects on the same track in the coming days,” said tunnel’s project manager Sharanappa Yalal.

Sources said that government has already come out with a tender inviting developers to bid for the Arpinchala to Dharam project and HCC is making preparations to bid for it.

HCC had bagged the Pir Panjal tunnel  project from IRCON, a construction subsidiary of the Railways, in 2005. Though the initial cost of the project was Rs 400 crore, it went up to Rs 800 crore as the scope of the project widened.

The tunnel, which connects the Bichelri valley of Banhial in Jammu with Qazigund in Kashmir, will reduce the distance between the two places to 18 km from 35 km by road.

“It will also help the economy of the two places. The tunnel will facilitate transportation during winter. During the most part of the year, the inclement weather forces closure of the road tunnel and the highway,” Yalal said.

“However, it was not easy to execute the project. Initially, we had brought two road headers from Germany for boring the tunnel. But, as we started working, we found the geologically young and unstable mountain range is not fit for traditional way of tunneling. We then brought the New Austrian Tunneling method for the first time in India,” he said.

The official said the Uri-II 240 MW hydro power project is also ready for commissioning though it has been taken out of the PM’s inauguration agenda during his two-day proposed visit here as NHPC said it had developed some technical snag.

“We have done the civil construction part of the project and the project hand over is likely to happen soon. It is up to NHPC to decide on the date of commissioning of the project,” he said.

NHPC is building the Rs 1,724 crore project at Baramulla on the river of Jhelum.