Nagdhunga-Naubise tunnel project becomes a ‘school’ for Nepali engineers to learn tunneling

Published On: August 5, 2022 01:50 PM NPT By: Himal Lamsal

KATHMANDU, August 5: The Nagdhunga-Naubise tunnel way project under construction has produced skilled Nepali manpower related to tunnel construction. The project which has been under construction since 2076 BS has produced more than 100 skilled manpower.

Currently, more than 500 skilled and semi-skilled workers are working on behalf of the Japanese contractor company Hazama Ando Corporation, subcontractors and consulting companies. Since this is the first tunnel way toward the road in the country, many mechanical engineers, and other workers have got a golden opportunity to gather knowledge and experience building a tunnel way.  

The Nagdhunga-Naubise Tunnel Road Project Director Naresh Man Shakya said that the tunnel project is a medium for many engineers in the country to gather knowledge and skill. “There are few engineers in the country who have knowledge related to tunnel construction and management,” he said.

Project Director Shakya said that Nepali engineers have reached a position where they can proceed with the construction of the tunnel although they are unable to design the tunnel. “Right now, the human resources to prepare all the designs of the tunnel are not ready, but they have acquired a lot of knowledge about the construction and management of tunnels.”

Director Shakya said that the experience of construction of the Naubise-Nagdhunga tunnel can be used for future tunnels in Nepal. "Hundreds of engineers are currently working as consultants for the construction of tunnels in Nepal," he said.

Chief Shakya said that even though Nepali engineers had studied the theory behind road tunnels abroad, they were not getting the opportunity to work practically. "With the construction of the Nagdhunga tunnel, Nepali engineers have been able to experience how to dig tunnels, drill and place explosives in tunnels, and blasting," he said, "The Nagdhunga Tunnel has become a school for Nepali engineers."

Currently, a total of 540 foreign and domestic workers are working on the Nagdhunga Tunnel. Although Japanese and Filipino workers are in-charge of the project, Nepali engineers and other workers are also working in various positions. As many as 19 people from Hazama Ando Corporation and six from the Philippines are working for the project.

Deputy team leader Achyut Bhatt, who is working on behalf of a consulting company on the Nagdhunga-Naubise tunnel, said that he is learning by watching the Japanese build the tunnel. “We have not even studied tunneling but we are learning by watching the work done by the Japanese. At least, we know how a tunnel is built.”

He said that the ability to use the knowledge and experience gained from the construction of this project in other projects is expanding. In the budget statement for the current fiscal year 2079/80, the government has announced that it will proceed with the feasibility study of 24 tunnels, including the construction of the Siddha Baba Tunnel.

The government has allocated a budget of Rs 1.196 billion for the construction and study of the tunnel in the budget for the next fiscal year. A plan has been made to construct the Siddha Baba tunnel in the current year. As much as 58 percent of the main tunnel has been progressed under the only Nagdhunga-Naubise tunnel route connecting the outer districts with the capital Kathmandu.

According to the Nagdhunga-Naubise tunnel project, of the total length of the main tunnel of 2,688 meters, only 1,434 meters have been dug so far.


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