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BusinessMEIL gears up to continue Zojila Tunnel works even in winter

MEIL gears up to continue Zojila Tunnel works even in winter

Published: 28th Sep 2021 8:31 pm

Srinagar: Hyderabad-based Megha Engineering & Infrastructure Limited (MEIL), which is executing Asia’s longest bi-directional Zojila Tunnel and the country’s longest road tunnel, is taking all steps to continue its works even in winter, regardless of harsh weather conditions.

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Satish Babu Angara, general manager, Projects, MEIL told Telangana Today in an exclusive interview, “We are getting all the support from the government in terms of timely approvals and other aspects needed for the smooth implementation of the project. We are now gearing up to continue to take up work even in the winter. There would be challenges due to the climate (as temperatures fall to -20 degrees and more) and the altitude (of over 3,000 metres) at which we work. We hope that we will overcome them.”

He further added, “We are taking all the measures to execute the project in winter, such as the needs of the project staff/workers such as heating arrangement and storing of necessary material. We want to complete most of the road connectivity works for the Zojila western portal within the next 1-2 months.”

Zojila Tunnel being developed by MEIL

Zojila Tunnel, being executed at a cost of Rs 4,600 crore, aims to ensure connectivity between Srinagar and Ladakh during all weathers. Earlier, between November and April, due to snowfall, there was no vehicular movement in the region. The tunnel will address this issue and enable transportation. “The company is also constructing structures to provide protection from avalanches and snow galleries to address the snowfall,” Angara informed.

After reviewing the project progress at Zojila Tunnel on Tuesday, Nitin Gadkari, Minister for Road Transport & Highways said, “I am satisfied with the pace of works undertaken by MEIL here. I am confident that the company’s MD PV Krishna Reddy and his team will speed up work and complete the project by December 2023 (ahead of 2024 Lok Sabha elections), rather than the September 2026 target set for the project completion.”

Detailed planning

When asked about the planning and coordination that goes into a large and complex project (with altitude and weather challenges) such as Zojila Tunnel, Nasarvali Shaik, DGM-Planning, MEIL, said, “MEIL is taking up both site and head office planning to see that the project meets all standards and is completed on time. All the teams are working in tandem, and a very micro-level planning goes into the execution of the project- equipment-wise, manpower-wise and material-wise.”

He added, “Within MEIL, tunnelling, bridges and road teams are involved in the execution of the project. The Asset Management team takes care of the deployment of resources and internal machine maintenance. Planning team takes care of the entire project planning. Material procurement and design teams also play a key role. Mining team takes care of the mining work that is required in the tunnelling activity. All the departments work together as one integrated unit. And planning remains the heart of project execution.”

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