New Delhi, Oct 22, 2015: Konkan Railway would establish a tunnel technology institute at Goa’s Margao town, to enable training for the technology hitherto unavailable in the country, Railway Minister Suresh Prabhu said today.
The proposed institute, a first in the country, would be named ’George Fernandes Institute of Tunnel Technology’, after former Railway Minister George Fernandes, who is said to be the driving force behind the Konkan Railway, a press release said.
The announcement was made by the Railway Minister during the ongoing celebrations to mark the Silver Jubilee of Konkan Railway.
The foundation stone laying ceremony of the institute would be held during the over one week-long celebrations slated to culminate on October 23 in Goa, Prabhu, who was the Chief Guest at a related programme, said.
Prabhu lavished praise on George Fernandes, former Railway Minister Madhu Dandwate, and former Karnartaka Chief Minister late R K Hegde for their contribution to the sector.
Dependence on foreign experts so far has resulted in high consultancy and training cost for the technology, the training for which has been necessitated by increasing urbanization and the need of better rail and road connectivity to remote and tier-2 cities, the Railway Minister said.
The training imparted at the institute would be specially adapted to suit the geology of Indian subcontinent, he said.
As per an estimate, in India, about 1500 km of tunnels exist, while 1000 km of tunnels are under construction and another 2000 km of tunnels are in planning stage. These include tunnels for railways, metro rails, roadways, hydroelectricity, water, sewerage and irrigation, he apprised.
The Konkan Railway has constructed more than 117 km of tunnels since its inception, with 22 km of them built in Jammu and Kashmir. All 11 tunnels of Mumbai-Pune Expressway aggregating to about 11 km were constructed by the Konkan Railway, besides construction of an irrigation tunnel in Andhra Pradesh, Prabhu said.
The objectives of the institute would be a depository of knowledge, experience and data for tunnels and underground structures, to provide training of tunnel technology and consultancy services for tunnels and underground construction, he added.