Kathmandu: Digging work under the Nagdhunga Tunnel Construction Project in Kathmandu has been halted for 20 days after digging devices get damaged. The Nagdhunga Tunnel Way Project shared that earlier they used to dig 3 to 4 metres on average in a day but the digging has come to a grinding halt for 20 days owing to damages incurred in the machines used to dig the tunnel, shared Project Chief Nabin Man Shrestha.
Shrestha informed that although other project works were ongoing, the progress on the part of tunnel digging was slow. He divulged, “The soil in the digging site was substandard and machines getting damaged are recurring problems in the Project.” The first tunnel way in the country measures 2.7 kilometres in length and has two lanes. The Project, for which foundation stone was laid in October, 2019, records 50.15 per cent physical progress so far.
Shrestha further said that the talks with the construction company Hazama Ando Corporation was ongoing as they have brought the matter to the knowledge of the Corporation entrusted with the construction of the Tunnel. The Japanese construction company is reeling under human resources crunch and lacking adequate machines at present, it was said. “The kind of rocks being unearthed while digging was different from survey. Also, the rocks are coming out while diggings are different than estimated in the design of the Project,” described Shrestha.
The tunnel is being constructed in the loan assistance of the government of Japan and is expected to reduce the time to clear Nagdhunga Pass to one-third of the current time and make transportation of people safe and efficient.
Furthermore, delays in addressing the compensation issues related to land acquisition was further pushing the deadline of the Project ought to be completed within 42 months from the start of the Project. Workers falling sick, unavailability of machines and tools and other hurdles during COVID-19 pandemic slowed down the the construction process in between. Amid this, Dr Bijay Jaisi, Chief of Development Assistance Division under the Department of Road said that only digging work was halted while construction of other infrastructures in the Project continues.