The stretch between Digdole and Khooni Nallah of Ramban Banihal section is prone to frequent landslides/shooting stones due to fragile geology. Considering the strategic importance of maintaining all weather connectivity to Srinagar and after assessing the challenges in ensuring stability of Hill slopes on existing alignment, Tunnels/Viaducts are proposed under 3 packages in Ramban Banihal section. The Twin tube Tunnel work in 4-laning from Digdole to Panthyal on Jammu Srinagar Highway was awarded to M/s Ceigall India Limited in JV with Patel Engineering Limited. The construction work started on 1st February 2022.
On 19.05.2022 around 10.30 to 11 PM in night land slide and shooting of stones started while the execution of portal support installation work of adit at Khooni Nallah was also being done. Before workers could be moved out, suddenly huge rock mass fell above the false steel portal erected for construction of adit which caved in leading to trapping of 12 workers at that spot. Senior NHAI officers immediately reached the site and rescue work was immediately started by SDRF, NDRF, J&K Police.
Two workers are rescued immediately and were hospitalized; and all possible medical Aid is being extended to them. The rescue work was hampered by intermittent shooting stones and bad weather. The trapped workers did not survive and bodies of 10 trapped workers was recovered by last evening. Those whose life could not be saved are being given Workman compensation and additional ex-gratia of Rs 2.00 lakh by EPC contractor which amounts to at least Rs 15 lakh. The injured are also being adequately compensated. In addition, the UT administration has also announced ex- gratia relief of Rs 1.0 lakh. It is yet to be determined whether the occurrence of the incidence is due to work being executed or due to natural reasons.
A Committee of 3 independent Eminent Experts has been constituted by Central Govt which has already moved to site to investigate the reasons for Slide/Collapse and remedial measures thereof. Further action will be taken based on report of Committee. NHAI has already initiated process to handle such emergency situation and also taking all possible measures to avoid such mishappening in future.