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Updated December 19th, 2023 at 14:02 IST

Jammu and Kashmir: Construction of Mehar tunnel temporarily halted as precautionary measure

Work has been suspended on the vital Mehar tunnel in Jammu and Kashmir's district Ramban as a safety measure.

Arawat Mehraj
Mehar tunnel
Picture used for representational purposes. | Image:PTI
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Kashmir: The construction activities at the Mehar tunnel along the Jammu-Srinagar National Highway (NH) in Ramban district have been halted as a precautionary measure due to concerns about the tunnel walls being affected by increased pressure. 

The National Highway Authority of India (NHAI) stated that experts have been called in to conduct a thorough inspection before deciding on the subsequent course of action.

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An official informed Republic that the construction of the nearly 800-metre-long tunnel is progressing simultaneously from both ends. Approximately 400-500 metres have been completed from one side and another 172 metres from the other. Despite no visible structural cracks, the Geological Survey of India (GSI) personnel have inspected the tunnel, with additional experts scheduled to join the assessment at the earliest.

Construction halted as a safety measure

As a safety measure, construction operations were halted and workers and machinery were evacuated from inside the tunnel. Previously, the construction faced a setback in June 2023 due to a landslide impacting its Ramban opening side.

The completion of the Mehar tunnel in J&K is expected by December 2024.

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Baseer-Ul-Haq Chaudhary, the Deputy Commissioner Ramban emphasized the need for a technical evaluation to resolve the issue causing the suspension, a process that might take a few days.

Upon completion, the 780-metre C-type tunnel will serve as an alternative route, circumventing the landslide-prone Mehar-Cafeteria stretch on the Jammu-Srinagar National Highway.

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A local resident, Prem Lal, told Republic that the ongoing road widening work along the Jammu-Srinagar National Highway has increased the susceptibility of several areas to landslides.

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Published December 19th, 2023 at 13:58 IST

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