Ircon International Ltd has reinvited bids for construction of a tunnel at Arpinchala Yard in Jammu & Kashmir, part of Jammu & Kashmir rail link project on Dharam-Qazigund section in the state. The agency had invited bids in June last year.

The project envisages construction of tunnel T49 (part tunnel) and side adits, tunnel T50, bridges 4 & 5, and earthworks at Arpinchala Yard, from 116.600 km to 125.000 km, on the Dharam-Qazigund section of Udhampur-Srinagar-Baramulla new BG railway line project.

The project cost has also been escalated from Rs.463 crore to Rs.592 crore. The project is expected to be completed within 48 months. The last date of submission of bids is on May 6, 2014.

Meanwhile, HCC which has already built the 11km Pir Panjal Railway tunnel—the third longest in the world, is planning to bid for the 13-km Arpinchala-Dharam underground railway project. The Banihal-Qazigund railway tunnel, the longest in the country, was awarded to the company by Ircon in 2005. The project cost was escalated from Rs.400 crore to Rs.800 crore as the scope of the project widened. The track was opened for public in December 2011. The tunnel, which connects the Bichelri valley of Banhial in Jammu with Qazigund in Kashmir, will reduce the distance between the two places to 18 km from 35 km by road. HCC brought in the New Austrian Tunneling method for the first time in India for the project.

The company is currently working on the same route that will connect between Dharam and Sumbar.

Project background
The tunnel is a part of the 345-km long Jammu-Udhampur-Srinagar-Baramulla Railway Link, aimed at connecting Jammu to Baramulla on the northwestern part of the valley. The work on Jammu-Udhampur section (53km) was completed and opened to public in April 2005, while Anantnag-Rajwansher (66km) section was opened to public in October 2008. The section from Rajwansher to Baramulla (35 km) was dedicated to the nation in February 2009, and Quazigund-Anantnag (18 km) section was opened to public in October 2009. The Udhampur-Katra section was commissioned in December 2011 and Quazigund-Banihal section was commissioned in March 2012. The work is in various stages of progress in the balance length from Udhampur to Quazigund. The Udhampur-Srinagar-Baramulla new BG railway line project is being implemented by Northern Railway, at a cost of Rs.17,500 crore.

The commissioning of the entire project is expected in 2017-2018.


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