Megha Engineering Emerges As Lowest Bidder For Zojila Tunnel Project
A Border Roads Organisation worker drives a steamroller while repairing a road surface with tarmac on a section of the Leh-Manali highway in the Ladakh region of India. (Photographer: Prashanth Vishwanathan/Bloomberg)

Megha Engineering Emerges As Lowest Bidder For Zojila Tunnel Project

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Hyderabad-based Megha Engineering and Infrastructure Ltd. has emerged as the lowest bidder for Zojila Tunnel project in Ladakh, the NHIDCL said on Friday.

Larsen and Toubro Ltd. and Ircon International Ltd. were among the bidders for the project, which when completed will provide all-year, all-weather road connectivity between the union territories of Jammu & Kashmir and Ladakh.

The project, stuck for over six years now, is strategic as the Zojila Pass is situated at an altitude of 11,578 feet on the Srinagar-Kargil-Leh national highway, which at present remains closed during winters due to heavy snowfall.

"MEIL has emerged as the lowest bidder by quoting Rs 4,509.5 crore for the Zojila Pass tunnel project," an official with the National Highways & Infrastructure Development Corporation Ltd. said on Friday. Road Transport and Highways Minister Nitin Gadkari had last month said that the work on the project will start soon.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi had in May 2018 laid the foundation stone for the Rs 6,800-crore project, billed as Asia's longest bi-directional tunnel, in Jammu & Kashmir. But barely months into the foundation, the NHIDCL terminated the contract awarded to IL&FS Transportation Network Ltd., which abandoned the project citing financial problems.

Bids reopened earlier this year for "construction of 14.15 km-long tunnel across Zojila Pass on Sonmarg-Kargil section of NH-1 between union territories of J&K and Ladakh along with approaches" through an EPC contract, according to the transport ministry.

"The Zojilla tunnel is to be built in horseshoe shape of 14.15 km as a two-lane road of 9.5 metres width and 7.57 metres height,” Megha Engineering said in a stament. “This project will have to carry out innovatively in the most critical conditions.”

The project is scheduled to be completed in 72 months, the company said. "This whole project has to be executed in two parts. The first part is 18.50 km of road, and the second part is 14.15 km as a tunnel.”

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