Pragati Maidan Tunnel 'Threat To Life': As PWD, L&T Sue Each Other, Know What Might Have Gone Wrong With Rs 777 Crore-Project

Pragati Maidan Tunnel 'Threat To Life': As PWD, L&T Sue Each Other, Know What Might Have Gone Wrong With Rs 777 Crore-Project

The Delhi government's PWD issued notices to Larsen and Toubro (L&T), which constructed the six-lane tunnel, over alleged "glaring infirmities".

Rahul MUpdated: Thursday, February 08, 2024, 06:19 PM IST
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File photo of Pragati Maidan tunnel | X

New Delhi, February 8: The Pragati Maidan tunnel in Delhi, inaugurated by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in June 2022, is witnessing water seepage, large cracks in cement/concrete and poor drainage. Apparently old pictures and videos of the waterlogged Pragati Maidan tunnel are currently doing the rounds on social media. Meanwhile, the Delhi government's PWD issued notices to Larsen and Toubro (L&T), which constructed the six-lane tunnel, over alleged "glaring infirmities".

In a notice issued on February 3, the PWD asked L&T to deposit Rs 500 crore, stating that the Pragati Maidan tunnel is now a "potential threat to the life of passengers". It highlighted the "most glaring as well as alarming" issue which is the accumulation of water across various locations in the tunnel/underpass.

"This issue, especially during the monsoon season, rendered the entire project non-operational for the general public and ultimately ended up causing far more blockages and congestion along the arterial roads of the entire New Delhi area which defeated the very purpose of this ambitious project," the notice stated.

"You… are hereby being put to notice in respect of the serious deficiencies that have been identified in… project undertaken by your company and the consequent damages as well as losses which are being incurred by the government entities in managing and operating the project and potential threat the construction poses to the life of passengers utilising the tunnels and underpasses in its current state…," it added.

L&T Files Counter-Claim

L&T has made a counter-claim of Rs 500 crore from the PWD. "PWD, Delhi, is an esteemed client and we value the long years of association we have enjoyed with them. However, L&T would like to state that a counter-claim of ₹ 500 crore has been made by the company against PWD, Delhi," an L&T spokesperson told news agency PTI.

While the PWD has sought Rs 500 crore from L&T and asked it to initiate repair work, a senior official of the department told The Hindu that the Pragati Maidan tunnel has become "unrepairable" and now requires a complete overhaul.

What Went Wrong With Pragati Maidan Tunnel?

Tunnels can develop seepages for several reasons. One of the reasons could be improper construction techniques or the use of low-quality materials. This can include issues like poor grouting, inadequate waterproofing or damage to the lining during construction.

Speaking to India Today, Archit Pratap Singh, an expert of urban planning, cited inadequate waterproofing and drainage system as possible key reasons behind seepages in the Pragati Maidan tunnel.

"The seepage issue in the Pragati Maidan tunnel highlights the lack of proper waterproofing measures during construction, leading to water leakage. Instances of water clogging in the 1.3 km drainage tunnel and the absence of saucer drains at crucial points underscore potential lapses in the implementation or design of drainage systems," he said. Understanding what is causing cracks, he said, could reveal the problems in the structure.

PM Modi had on June 19, 2022 inaugurated the 1.3-km-long Pragati Maidan tunnel and five underpasses as part of the Pragati Maidan Integrated Transit Corridor Project, which cost Rs 777 crore.

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