Question mark over road tunnel projects in HP

fate of the projects will depend on the formation of the next government and funding provisions, which is expected to run in hundreds of crores

Three mega traffic tunnels projects — two of them cleared by the incumbent BJP government in Himachal in July 2012 — may not take off any time soon. The fate of the projects will depend on the formation of the next government and funding provisions, which is expected to run in hundreds of crores.

Incidentally, Chief Minister Prem Kumar Dhumal had laid down the foundation for one of the projects a fortnight before the Assembly elections were announced. The 1,200-metre long Bangana-Dhaneta road tunnel to connect Una and Hamirpur districts will cost more than Rs145.47 crore as per the Detailed Project report prepared by Austrian consultancy firm Bernard Ingenieure. The tunnel will reduce the distance between Bangana and Dhaneta towns of the two districts by eight kilometres.

Another ambitious project is the 2.8-km Bhubbu Jot tunnel on the Jogindernagar—Shilh Bhadwani-Kullu road estimated to cost Rs 367 crore. "Since Bhubbu Jot pass in Kullu district remains covered with heavy snow between December to March, the tunnel beneath the pass would provide all weather road connectivity," says Public Works minister Gulab Singh Thakur.

PWD officials inform that the company, which was supposed to submit its feasibility report on the project in June 2012, has been asked to complete it by November 15, 2012.

The other important tunnel project is 6.5 km long Holi-Utrala to link Chamba district with Kangra district. It will reduce distance between Utrala near Baijnath in Kangra and Holi in Bharmour town in Chamba by 180 kms .

"Detailed project reports of the project are still awaited. The company has not even completed the boring. With the winter setting in, the company will not be able to complete the work from the Holi end," a senior PWD engineer said.

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