Second Baglihar tunnel collapses after landslide
By Iftikhar Gilani
NEW DELHI: Work on the controversial Baglihar hydroelectric power project hit another snag when one of its diversion tunnels collapsed due to a landslide late on Sunday. This is the second tunnel that has collapsed within the past two months.
Reports stated that a landslide hit the dam’s site, which blocked the flow of Chenab River for more than an hour, causing the dam to overflow. Work on the dam, which had recently picked up after flash floods submerged most of the project’s site, was suspended again, said contractors Jai Prakash Associates.
Sources said that due to landslides in the area the cable crane system had also developed cracks. At least three blocks of the system had collapsed and fallen in Chenab, sources added. “Due to soil erosion more than 100,000 cubic metres of a hill slid on Sunday, which choked Diversion Tunnel I at the dam’s site,” Syed Muzaffar Hussain, chief engineer of the project, said. “But the dam and all permanent structures of the power project are safe,” he added.
Sources said the current water discharge level at the dam was 2,600 cubic metres per second and out of 18 blocks, blocks 11,12,13,15 and 16 were submerged. However, authorities concerned said there was no threat to the dam and work on blocks 1 to 10 would continue.
Diversion Tunnel II had collapsed when water of the Chenab rose in July. Flash floods had also washed away two bridges and a 200-metre road that led to the dam at Chanderkote. Muzaffar Hussain said about 50 percent of the work at the dam had been completed.