The National Highways & Infrastructure Development Corporation (NHIDCL) is undertaking the construction, operation and maintenance of the two-lane, bi-directional Zojila Tunnel with parallel escape (egress) tunnel, including approaches on the Srinagar-Leh section connecting NH-1 at 95 km and at 118 km through an EPC contract.
According to the NHIDCL website, there are three ventilation shafts; two ventilation shafts will be used as construction shafts. While two faces will be open for working, only one face will be open for working round the year and work will not be possible on the other face for six months.
“The project is in the bidding process and the last date for receiving bids is April 30,” informs Anand Kumar, Managing Director, NHIDCL.
“We want to start construction by next year. Bids will be awarded in July and we expect work to start by August 1.” Bids will be floated separately for the tunnel and the approaches.
- Estimated construction cost: Rs 5,950 crore
- Execution period: Seven years
One of the most challenging projects ever undertaken in India, Zojila was initially being handled by the Border Roads Organisation (BRO); now, NHIDCL has taken charge and the mode of execution has changed from annuity to EPC.
“We are confident of awarding the work in time,” says Kumar. “In fact, we have also rationalised some of the eligibility conditions to ensure fair competition.” Companies with experience in constructing a hydro, road or rail tunnel of minimum 5 km and diameter 5.5 m or more in the past 12 years are eligible to bid. Also, NHIDCL will provide the contractors 15 per cent (10 per cent for general and 5 per cent for machinery) as a mobilisation advance, which will be interest-bearing. “We anticipate the bidders can complete this tunnel in six years rather than the estimated seven years, for which we have added a bonus clause of 10 per cent,” he adds.