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IRB to construct southeast Asia’s longest tunnel

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Mumbai: The Indian highway construction company, IRB Infrastructure Developers Ltd will construct Southeast Asia’s longest tunnel at Zozi La, stretching over 14.08 km, in Jammu and Kashmir, an official said here on Monday.

A letter of intent has been issued to construct the tunnel at a cost of Rs 10,050 crore, making it the country’s biggest national highway project in terms of project cost, on a design, build, finance, operate, and transfer (DBFOT) basis, within seven years.

The project will include approaches on NH-1 (Srinagar-Sonmarg-Gumri Road), and provide an all-weather connectivity to the Leh-Ladakh region which remains cut-off from the rest of the world during winters.

Virendra Mhaiskar, chairman-cum-managing director of IRB Infrastructure said that the project of ‘national importance’ has a strategic and socio-economic importance as it will be will provide much-needed all-weather connectivity between Jammu and Kashmir and Leh-Ladakh which remains cut-off during winter to due to heavy snowfall.

“The project involves constructing the 14.08 tunnel, 10.80 km approach roads, with three vertical ventilation shafts, snow gallery of 700 metres and avalanche protection measures,” Mhaiskar said.

Hoping to complete the project within the stipulated time-frame (7 years) in the tough Himalayan terrain, he said the concession period for the project is 22 years.

The company would receive a semi-annual annuity of Rs.981 crore from the ministry of highways, commencing after completion of construction of the project, twice every year till the end of the concession period.

IRB now expands its base to the ninth state in the country with this esteemed project and its book increased to Rs 16,430 crore, including 20 Road BOT project, including 14 which are already under operation.(IANS)

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Early Diagnosis and Treatment Can Prevent Disability from Leprosy

WHO is calling for laws discriminating against people with leprosy to be abolished

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WHO is taking initiatives to eradicate Leprosy and its harmful effects. VOA
WHO is taking initiatives to eradicate Leprosy and its harmful effects. VOA
  • Early diagnosis and treatment can prevent serious impacts of Leprosy

To mark World Leprosy Day, the World Health Organization is calling for the eradication of this ancient disfiguring disease by combating the stigma and discrimination that discourages people from seeking the help they need.

World Health Organisation spreads awareness about Leprosy. Wikimedia Commons
World Health Organisation spreads awareness about Leprosy. Wikimedia Commons

Leprosy is a chronic bacterial disease with a slow incubation period of about five years. In some cases, symptoms may occur within one year, but can take as long as 20 years to appear.

Leprosy was eliminated globally as a public health problem in 2000, but the disease persists in individuals and communities. WHO spokesman, Tarik Jasarevic, tells VOA this is unacceptable, as an effective treatment exists that can fully cure people of leprosy.

Also Read: PM Modi calls for collective effort for complete elimination of Leprosy

Leprosy can cause severe damage to body parts leading to disabilities. VOA
Leprosy can cause severe damage to body parts leading to disabilities. VOA

“Since ’95, WHO has provided this multi-drug therapy free of cost to all leprosy patients in the world,” he said. “In 2016, WHO launched global leprosy strategy, 2016-2020, accelerating toward a leprosy-free world. This is basically to revamp the efforts for leprosy control. The strategy focuses on avoiding disabilities, especially among children.”

This year’s World Leprosy Day focuses on preventing disabilities in children. WHO reports children account for nearly nine percent of all new cases of leprosy, including almost seven percent of those with visible deformities.

WHO is also trying to eradicate the discrimination people with Leprosy face. VOA
WHO is also trying to eradicate the discrimination people with Leprosy face. VOA

The U.N. health agency notes early diagnosis and early treatment can prevent disability. It says disabilities do not occur overnight, but happen after a prolonged period of undiagnosed and untreated disease.

Also Read: WHO calls for focused efforts to eradicate tropical diseases

Unfortunately, it notes many people do not seek help until it is too late and deformities already have appeared. This is because of the stigma and discrimination associated with leprosy.

WHO is calling for laws discriminating against people with leprosy to be abolished and replaced with policies promoting inclusion of such people within society. VOA