The Raksha Rajya Mantri Dr. Subhash Bhamre inaugurated a two-day seminar on ‘Challenges in Planning, Investigation, Design and Construction of Highway Tunnels in Himalayan Region’ organised by the Border Roads Organisation (BRO) here today. Addressing the function, Dr. Bhamre said development of road infrastructure plays a vital role in overall development of the nation, creation of jobs, attract foreign investment and in integration of remote parts of the country with the mainland. He said, in the Himalayan region, road infrastructure is of special significance, as it remains the only means of communication for movement of inhabitants, their logistic support and for their overall development. For the areas having security concerns, necessity of reliable and all-weather connectivity becomes all the more important.
Dr. Bhamre, however said that construction of road network in upper Himalayan region, poses severe challenges and to address such issues effectively and ensure all weather connectivity meeting the growing ecological and environmental concerns, underground structure like ‘tunnels’ are the only viable solution. “Therefore for mighty Himalayas, tunnel construction shall form an important feature of the road and rail network to ensure an all-weather, smooth and reliable communication, even if at initial stage it works out to be a costly solution” he stated. Dr. Subhash Bhamre further said that the country is now making a rapid advancement in the construction of tunnels both for road and rail network. Construction of Chenani–Nashri highway tunnel and Banihal-Quazikund rail tunnel in Jammu & Kashmir and number of tunnels in Delhi Metro has proved India’s technical strength in this specialised field in the global community. He also said that in near future, the completion of 8.80 km long highway tunnel across Rohtang pass, which is under construction by BRO where a breakthrough has now been achieved will ensure proper connectivity. The RRM also inaugurated an exhibition where several companies involved in designing and construction of highway tunnels have showcased their exhibits.
Engineer-in-Chief Lt Gen Suresh Sharma, Director General Military Operations Lt Gen Anil Kumar Bhatt, Managing Director, Delhi Metro Rail Corporation (DMRC) Dr. Mangu Singh, Director, Indian Institute of Technology Delhi, Professor V Ramgopal Rao and Director General Border Roads Organisation Lt Gen SK Shrivastava also highlighted the importance of this specialised subject. The function was attended by several senior officials from BRO, Ministry of Defence and representatives from various companies.