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What does the joint committee report say about IRCON Tunnel T-77D excavation damage in J&K?

IRCON International Limited is responsible for the excavation of tunnel T-77D in Village Channar-Bankoot, District Ramban, Jammu & Kashmir.

By ArchitaKedia
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IRCON Tunnel T-77D excavation damage in J&K

The construction of infrastructure and development projects is essential for the growth and progress of any nation. However, it is also crucial to ensure that these projects do not cause harm to the environment and local communities. IRCON International Limited is a government-owned company under the Ministry of Railways. It is responsible for various infrastructure projects in India, including the excavation of tunnel T-77D in Village Channar-Bankoot, District Ramban, Jammu & Kashmir.

 USBRL Project
Alignment Plan- USBRL Project | Photo: Northern Railway Construction Organization
(USBRL Project)

However, the excavation caused damage to the surrounding area, including agricultural land and water resources. To investigate the damage and remedial measures taken by IRCON, a joint committee was formed by the Jammu & Kashmir State Pollution Control Board and the Irrigation and Flood Control Department.

Findings of the Joint Committee

The joint committee conducted a detailed investigation and found that the excavation of tunnel T-77D caused damage to the agricultural land and water resources in the surrounding areas. The report states that,

"the excavation of the tunnel has resulted in the drying up of natural water resources and land subsidence in the area, leading to the loss of crops and vegetation."

According to the joint committee report, IRCON took several measures to remediate the damage caused during the excavation of Tunnel T-77D in the village of Channar, Bankoot District, Rambar, Jammu & Kashmir. These measures included:

  1. Construction of check dams: IRCON constructed check dams to control soil erosion caused by the excavation. The check dams helped in retaining soil and preventing it from being washed away by rainwater.
  2. Construction of gabion walls: Gabion walls were constructed to stabilize the slopes and prevent landslides. The gabion walls were made of wire baskets filled with stones and were effective in containing the damage caused by the excavation.
  3. Plantation of trees: IRCON planted trees to restore the vegetation cover that was damaged during the excavation
  4. Construction of culverts: Culverts were constructed to ensure the flow of water and prevent water logging in the area and also helped in preventing soil erosion and maintaining the ecological balance of the area.

The report notes that,

"the construction of these structures has helped to mitigate the damage caused by the excavation."

Unfortunately, the joint committee also identified several areas where IRCON's remedial measures fell short. For example, the committee found that the retaining wall constructed by IRCON was inadequate. As a result, land subsidence continued in the area. The committee also found that the check dam constructed by IRCON was not functioning properly. Hence, leading to the loss of water resources.

The Reaction of the Local People

The damage caused by the excavation of the tunnel has had a significant impact on the local people, particularly the farmers who rely on the agricultural land and water resources in the area. Speaking to the media, one of the affected farmers, Mohammad Hussain, said,

"We have lost our crops and water resources due to the excavation of the tunnel. We urge the government to take strong action against IRCON and ensure that they compensate us for the losses we have suffered."

Another affected farmer, Shabir Ahmed, said,

"We have been living in this area for generations, and we have never faced such a situation before. The damage caused by IRCON has not only affected our livelihoods but also the environment in the area. We demand that IRCON takes immediate steps to rectify the damage caused."

Conclusion

The joint committee report highlights the damage caused by the excavation of tunnel T-77D in Village Channar-Bankoot, District Ramban, Jammu & Kashmir. The tunnel is part of the Udhampur to Baramulla Northern rail project. Furthermore, remedial measures are taken by IRCON to contain the damage. While the report acknowledges that IRCON has taken some steps to mitigate the damage. At the same time, it also identifies several areas where the remedial measures fell short. The report's findings are a wake-up call for IRCON and the government to take the necessary steps to compensate the affected people and rectify the damage caused.

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