Water spring poses a threat to Kuthiran tunnel

Concerns over safety of Kuthiran tunnel persist
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Vadakkancherry: An active water spring is posing safety threat to the one-km-long Kuthiran twin tunnel on the Mannuthy-Vadakkancherry stretch of the national highway in Thrissur district. Though rains have receded, water from the spring is seeping into the tunnel, and cracks in the tunnel are a cause for concern.

Heavy downpour in the region usually results in waterlogging in the tunnel. Mud, which was deposited at the mouth of the tunnel following the rain-triggered landslides in August, has not been cleared due to strike by workers, drivers and vehicle owners.

Construction work is in a limbo though State PWD Minister G Sudhakaran had announced that the tunnel will be commissioned in January. KMC Group, which is constructing the tunnel, has to pay sub-contractor Pragthi Group around Rs 45 crore, said the officials concerned. Close to 280 people are striking work in protest against non-payment of wages.

Regarding the cracks in the tunnel, the officials brushed aside any fear by saying that they were quite normal. The water will be channeled through culverts once the drainage work is completed.

The tunnel could be opened for traffic only after the police control room and fire safety procedures are put in place. The huge mass of rock that is posing threat to the tunnel mouth should also be cleared.

A catchment water drainage system should be installed in the adjacent hills to stem landslide due to heavy rain, said Pragathy Group officials. The company has given application to the Forest Department to get 3 m of forest land to set up this system. Thrissur ADM has asked the company to iron out differences with the forest department, and make the twin-tunnel safe and sound.

A spring is a point at the surface level through which water flows from an aquifer in the earth.

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