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Even after 50 years, BRO has no expertise in tunnel work: Panel

Despite half a century of being in the business, the Border Roads Organisation still lacks expertise in tunnel work, a Parliamentary panel today said.



New Delhi: Despite half a century of being
in the business, the Border Roads Organisation still lacks
expertise in tunnel work, a Parliamentary panel today said,
while slamming it for engaging a private consultant for the
purpose at Rohtang in Himachal Pradesh.

The 9-km long Rohtang tunnel work was inaugurated by UPA
chairperson Sonia Gandhi on June 28, for which the BRO has
engaged an Indo-Austrian joint venture Strabag-Afcons for
executing the project.

Strabag-Afcons will provide its New Austrian Tunnelling
Method (NATM) technology, the latest in tunnel work, for
construction of the Rohtang tunnel. This tunnel will reduce
the 475-km distance from Manali in Himachal Pradesh to Leh in
Jammu and Kashmir by 46 km.

"It is surprising to note that even after celebrating the
golden jubilee of BRO in the year 2010, adequate emphasis have
not been given on tunnel training.

"The committee finds that tunnel construction is part of
the road works. BRO is the premier organisation involved with
the creation of infrastructure on our borders, even then it
has no expertise in tunnel construction," the Standing
Committee on Defence said.

"The committee, during the course of examination, has
been informed that reputed consultants are being inducted to
execute the work for Rohtang tunnel. The committee is unhappy
to note the aforesaid position," it said in a 59-page report
presented to Parliament.

The committee also asked the BRO to involve more of its
officers in the tunnel work at Rohtang so that it could have a
good number of experts among its staff in the years to come.

To address the problem, the committee noted, only six or
seven officers are now being trained in the task of tunnel
construction.

"The committee strongly recommend that all out efforts
should be made to train more and more officers in the
construction of tunnels," it said.

It also pointed out that while international consultants
were involved in the Rohtang tunnel work, the BRO should
ensure its own officers were associated with the task to gain
on-the-job training.

The report also emphasised that BRO should ensure all the
tunnel work, including at Rohtang, was completed within the
stipulated time frame.

Work at the Rohtang tunnel is slated for completion by
2015.

-PTI

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