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Modern technology must for tunnelling work: Baalu

Written by: Staff

New Delhi, Aug 25 (UNI) Shipping, Road Transport and Highways Minister T R Baalu today said the large-scale and time-bound road development programme, being taken up by the government, would require sophisticated technology for extensive tunnel construction in the hills, subways and underpasses in urban areas.

Delivering the inaugural address at a seminar on Tunnels and Underground Structures, organised by the Indian National Group of International Association for Bridge and Structural Engineering (ING-IABSE) here, Mr Baalu said with the overall economic development of the country and the GDP growing at an unprecedented rate, the pressure on urban road space would accelerate the need for underground roads and parking lots.

With the existing build-ups in the urban areas, underground parking lots would be a necessity in near future, he pointed out.

The minister emphasised that it was important to use new technologies not only to speed up the construction but also to ensure that the structures were safe, durable and performance-based and safe.

''Proper emphasis needs to be given on providing adequate lighting and ventilation in tunnels and underground structures to ensure user safety,'' Mr Baalu said.

He lauded the role being played by ING-IABSE in disseminating the state-of-art knowledge acquired by the professionals around the world in planning, design, construction and maintenance of structures, including bridges, tunnels, urban habitats and tall buildings.

The minister pointed out that though extensive tunnelling work had been done in India for hydel power projects and, to some extent, in construction of Metro rails, very limited length of tunnels had so far been constructed for the highways.

He said recently some tunnels had been constructed in the Golden Quadrilateral project, but to speed up the work of tunnelling with great accuracy, the latest technologies in the field had to be adopted.

With the Government laying great emphasis on the development of infrastructure, especially the road network in the country, construction of a substantial length of tunnels would be required for widening of roads passing through the mountainous region, particularly in Jammu and Kashmir and the North-Eastern region.

In his keynote address, Delhi Metro Rail Corporation Managing Director E.Sreedharan said the country was poised to take up a large number of tunnelling projects in various areas like construction of Metros, roads, urban infrastructural facilities, drainage, irrigation and defence.

He said while the country was equipped to take up any tunnelling job, there was need to enhance capability in their designing, and this would require creating specialised courses in IITs and engineering Colleges.

In his Welcome Address, ING-IABSE Chairman, Mr Velayutham, said that with the urban population projected to reach 50 per cent from the present 30 per cent in the country, there would hardly be any additional space on the ground in the Indian Cities to accommodate the aspirations of the people within the developmental scenario.

On the occasion, Mr Baalu gave away award to four experts for their research papers on underground tunnelling.

The IABSE was set up in 1929 with its headquarter at Zurich to promote international cooperation and exchange of technical and scientific knowledge in structural engineering.

The Association deals with all aspects of planning, design, construction, operation, maintenance and repair of civil engineering structures regardless of construction material, type of structure or construction method.


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