Nandni tunnel develops cracks within 30 months of its Inauguration

The Nandani tunnels on the Jammu-Srinagar highway have developed major leakages within 30 months of their inauguration.
The leakage in the tunnels, 25 km from Jammu, is posing a serious threat to connectivity on the national highway, which also connects Mata Vaishno Devi shrine in Katra and the Northern Command in Udhampur to rest of the country.
Though, SP Jammu-Udhampur Highway Pvt Ltd — the construction company — has been given the contract for 20 years (three years for construction and 17 years for maintenance), but the patch work has already started inside the tunnel after just two and a half years of its inauguration, which also failed to stop the leakage inside it. Four tunnels located beneath the Nandni wildlife sanctuary over a combined length of 1.4 km were inaugurated on January 3, 2015, giving relief to passengers from about 6.8-km road stretch of poor geometry, sharp curve, hairpin bends and steep grades.
The Jammu team of the National Highway Authority of India (NHAI), which has to supervise the widening and maintenance work on the highway, has instructed the company to take immediate action to made way for water drainage.
“These tunnels are not lane tunnels like Chenani-Nashri tunnel. There is some leakage in it, which is being repaired,” said MT Attarde, Project Director, NHAI, Jammu.
“The company has been instructed to do the needful. It will be repaired soon and the tunnel is totally safe for the commuters,” he added.
Though the tunnel is safe, developing leakage within 30 months still raises a question on the life of the tunnel.
“It was a horrifying experience to pass through the tunnel as rainwater was leaking through the walls and the surface had become slippery. It doesn’t look like a newly constructed tunnel. It seems the tunnel could collapse anytime,” said Sandeep Sadotra, a commuter.
If we go through the history, the 2.8 km-long Jawahar tunnel which connects Banihal to Qazigund got operational in 1956 and it started leaking in mid 90s, despite being in heavy snowfall and landslides prone area. But Nandani tunnels –which were constructed in one of the safest zones of Jammu in modern era has also developed leakage, which reflects the low quality of work. Surprisingly, the company hardly switches on the lights of the tunnel and the ventilators of the tunnel-4 to save the electricity bill, which also irk the commuters. “Due to power failure, it gets scary moving through the tunnel when there is huge rush of vehicles. I was accompanying my father who is unwell and he felt uneasy while moving through extreme darkness inside the tunnel,” said Mohammad Arshad, a commuter.