Konkan Railway was formed in 1990 as a Company to construct 761 km Rail Link between Mumbai (Roha) to Mangalore(Thokur). The entire line was opened for traffic on 26th Jan, 1998. Konkan Railway has completed 25 years and is celebrating Silver Jubilee. The celebration started on 15th October in Mumbai. Hon’ble Minister for Railways Shri Suresh Prabhakar Prabhu was the Chief Guest and distributed the awards to employees who exhibited exemplary services during the year.
While speaking on the occasion he praised the efforts of Shri Madhu Dandwate, Shri George Fernandes and Shri R K Hegde. He said Konkan Railway was the dream of Shri George Fernandes, who was the driving force behind the Konkan Railway project. He said we cannot forget his contribution. Later he said that A Tunnel Technology Institute will be set up in his name.The foundation Stone for the Institute will be laid during the Silver Jubilee celebrations. It will be a befitting tribute to Shri George Fernandes during Silver Jubilee year of the Corporation.
At present country does not have an Institute for training serving engineers for tunnel technology. We depend on foreign experts and technology. The facilities for training in tunnel technology exists in Europe. The cost of consultancy and training from foreign countries is high. The training imparted here will be specially adapted to suit to geology of Indian sub continent.
The need to provide rail and road connectivity to even remotest cities and growing urbanization of metros and tier two cities has necessitated construction of tunnels in a big way. Transportation through tunnels not only conserves the surface environment but also leaves the ground surface for humanity and earth’s flora & fauna to flourish. Though mankind has been constructing tunnels from pre-historic times, the present demand for construction of tunnels in difficult Himalayan geology and under built urban environment needs tunnel experts.
As per an estimate, in India, about 1500 km of tunnels exist, 1000 km of tunnels are under construction and another 2000 km of tunnels are under planning stage. These include tunnels for railways, metro rails, roadways, hydroelectricity, water, sewerage and irrigation. Compared to easier tunnel constructions in hard rock geology, to realise the underground potential of transportation network, the tunnelling has to be done in difficult geology, deep seated under high mountains and below urban environment.
KRCL has constructed more than 117 km of tunnels over last 25 years since its incorporation. It has 84 kms of railway tunnels on its 741 km route through western ghats in Maharashtra, Goa and Karnataka. It has constructed 22 km of railway tunnels in State of Jammu and Kashmir. All 11 tunnels of Mumbai Pune expressway aggregating to about 11 km were constructed by KRCL. Even an irrigation tunnel was constructed by KRCL in Andhra Pradesh. The above experience of its engineers will be assimilated and a knowledge depository will be planned.
The proposed Institute of Tunnel Technology will be established at Madgaon (Goa), being well connected by rail and air. It is even on International tourist map. It has relevant infrastructure in place. Konkan Railway’s tunnels are also nearby for ease of imparting training.
The objectives of this Institute will 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. Konkan Railway has rich and vast expertise in this field.
Looking at the need of the hour and directions of Hon’ble Minister for Railways, the Konkan Railway Silver Jubilee celebrations will culminate on 23rd Oct, in a function at Goa with Foundation Stone Laying Ceremony for construction of a “George Fernandes Institute of Tunnel Technology”.