Post Uttarakhand tragedy, officials visit Himachal tunnel construction sites : The Tribune India

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Post Uttarakhand tragedy, officials visit Himachal tunnel construction sites

NHAI tells contractors to stay prepared to meet any eventuality

Post Uttarakhand tragedy, officials visit Himachal tunnel construction sites

Abdul Basit, Regional Officer, NHAI, inspects a tunnel construction site on the NH-5 on Monday.



Tribune News Service

Ambika Sharma

Solan, November 20

In a bid to avert any mishap in the under-construction tunnels and other construction sites in view of the Uttarakhand incident, officials of the National Highways Authority of India (NHAI) today directed the contractors engaged in four-laning of the Shimla-Solan section of the highway (NH-5) to prepare an inventory of machinery available in the vicinity for being immediately utilised in case of an emergency.

The two contractors engaged in the four-laning work have also been directed to keep ready a vertical drilling machine at each tunnel or at a nearby location for being used in case an Uttarakhand-like situation arises.

Abdul Basit, Regional Officer, NHAI, along with Anand Kumar, Project Director, NHAI, Shimla, today visited four tunnel construction sites on the Shimla-Solan stretch of the NH-5. They inspected three tunnels under the Shimla bypass project and one at Kandaghat on the Solan-Kaithlighat four-laning project.

Basit directed the contractors, Singla Infra and Aerif Construction Pvt Ltd undertaking the two four-laning projects, to take all safety precautions. He also interacted with the construction workers engaged in the tunneling work and enquired about various safety issues they were facing.

He warned the contractors that no laxity in safety would be tolerated. He also directed the Project Director to conduct mock drills at every under-construction site to check the preparedness of the contractors as well as the effectiveness of the evacuation plan.

“The contractors have been directed to improve visibility inside the tunnels by putting up more floodlights. Additional tubes for carrying water and oxygen would also be created inside the tunnels till the work was completed for being used in an exigency,” said Basit.

The staff will also ensure that the communication system is operational 24 hours for effective communication with the workers working inside the tunnels. Provision of fresh water to the labour will also be ensured.

Regular medical check-up of the workers will also be undertaken to ensure that those having breathing problems like asthma were not send inside. An ambulance with paramedical staff has been kept ready 24X7 outside the tunnels. In a bid to ensure speedier communication, a WhatsApp group of all workers has been created for immediate help in case of any mishap.

Work on at four tunnels

  • Seventy men, including labour and safety staff, were engaged at the Kandaghat tunnel. As Work on 460 metres have been completed while the remaining 207 metres will take another 13 months
  • As many as 200 men were engaged at the three tunnels near Shimla bypass. As much as 326 m of the Shimla bypass tunnel has been completed while 476 m of the Shimla-Dhalli tunnel and 150 m of the Kaithlighat-Sakral tunnel have been completed

Safety precautions

  • Mock drills must be conducted at every under-construction site to check the preparedness of the contractors as well as the effectiveness of the evacuation plan
  • To ensure speedier communication, a WhatsApp group of all workers has been created for immediate help in case of any mishap
  • The staff must ensure that the communication system is operational 24 hours for effective communication with the workers working inside the tunnels
  • Regular medical check-up of the workers will also be undertaken to ensure that those having breathing problems like asthma were not send inside

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The Tribune News Service brings you the latest news, analysis and insights from the region, India and around the world. Follow the Tribune News Service for a wide-ranging coverage of events as they unfold, with perspective and clarity.

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