New Delhi: Union Road Transport and Highways Minister Nitin Gadkari on Wednesday told Parliament that in 2019, there was no collapse or cavity formation in the part of the Silkyara-Barkot tunnel that had collapsed last year.
A total of 41 workers were trapped after a portion of the under-construction tunnel collapsed on November 12. The workers were rescued on November 28.
"There was no collapse/cavity formation in the same part of the tunnel in 2019," Gadkari said in a written reply to Rajya Sabha.
The minister was replying to a question on whether the same part of the tunnel had collapsed in 2019.
According to Gadkari, the operation to rescue those trapped was completed safely and there were no injuries or fatalities.
The minister said an expert committee consisting of experts from the BRO, Ministry of Railways, MoRTH, and premier academic institutions has been constituted to investigate the Silkyara tunnel collapse.
"The committee has visited the site and submitted a preliminary report and accordingly instructions have been issued to (those) concerned to take necessary action to restart the project with necessary safeguards," he added.
The National Highways and Infrastructure Development Corporation Ltd (NHIDCL) is constructing the Silkyara-Barkot tunnel through Hyderabad-based Navayuga Engineering Company Ltd.
It is a single-tube tunnel divided into two inter-connected corridors by a partition wall. Each inter-connector corridor can work as an escape passage for the other.
The 4.5 kilometre-long tunnel project in Uttarakhand, which is part of the Centre's 900 kilometre-Char Dham Yatra All Weather Road, aims to improve connectivity to the four pilgrimage sites.