Vadakkencherry: The opening of the twin tunnels at Kuthiran in Thrissur district would be delayed further as the work has stalled once again over payment issues.
Hyderabad-based KMC Constructions Ltd, the main contractor, is yet to clear Rs. 45 crore due to the Mumbai-based sub-contractor Pragathi Group.
No work is being carried out here as 250 workers and around 30 other staff resorted to strike work as their wages were not paid on time owing to financial issues of the contractor.
With the drivers, workers, and vehicle owners associated with the tunnel work on a war path, the hopes of making the tunnels operational during this monsoon season have evaporated.
The crisis started when almost 90 percent work of the left tunnel and 70 percent work of the right tunnel had been completed.
The tunnel is along the Mannuthy–Vadakkancherry National Highway.
Locals fear landslide
Local residents fear landslides owing to the pendency of crucial civil work. The mud that got deposited at the opening of the tunnel in the incessant rains last August has not yet been removed. Fissures have formed within the tunnel even on concrete surfaces due to water seepage.
Landslides are common near Kuthiran during monsoon.
Though the Pragati Group had informed that a water drainage system would be installed over the hills in the face of the tunnel to avoid landslides during rain, no steps have been taken in this regard. The plan was to take the rain water from the hilltop directly to the lower levels. However, the company authorities now say only that application has been given to the Forest Department for getting forest land of 3 meters width for this purpose.
Moreover, no step has been taken to strengthen the side walls of the tunnel. Experts have warned that the face of the tunnel may experience mudslides during this monsoon.
The construction of other drainage here is also not over.
The construction of a police control room, facilities like fire and safety alerts, and provision of water and mechanised firefighting system also need to be completed before the opening the tunnels.
A block of rocks in front of tunnels also needs to be removed.