Brahmaputra river

Jorhat-based Council of Scientific and Industrial Research-North East Institute of Science and Technology (CSIR-NEIST) will carry out site specific geophysical investigation of a strategic tunnel under the Brahmaputra.

American construction giant Louis Berger has awarded the responsibility to the institute to carry out the study for construction of the India’s first under water tunnel.

An official of CSIR-NEIST said the Centre has approved the construction of a four lane tunnel under the Brahmaputra river linking Gohpur (NH-52) with Numaligarh (NH-37) in upper Assam.

An official of CSIR-NEIST said the heightened military tensions and recent stand offs with China had attached a mounting strategic importance to this project as it will shorten the distance to Arunachal Pradesh.

It will also evolve as an alternative corridor to cater towards vital military supplies and further give a boost to Indian military logistics.

This project is touted to be of great national importance given India’s growing security concerns in the eastern Himalayas and Northeast in particular.

“The National Highways and Infrastructure Development Corporation Limited (NHIDCL) has given the green signal to global construction giant Louis Berger for the construction of the underwater tunnel across the river.

“In this regard Louis Berger has entrusted the responsibility to CSIR-NEIST, Jorhat, to carry out the site specific in-depth geophysical investigations besides seismic hazard assessment,” the official said.

G Narahari Sastry, director of CSIR-NEIST said this engineering marvel, the first of its kind in India, is a herculean task and the institute has dared to brave all odds to take up this challenge to carry forward with this highly ambitious project.

He further added that CSIR-NEIST had scripted history as the momentous time has arrived when this esteemed CSIR laboratory, the only one in northeast India would forge ahead to fructify an ambitious dream of national and strategic importance.

A team of scientists and technical staff from the Geo Sciences and Technology Division (GSTD) of CSIR-NEIST are gearing up to materialize this uphill task at a war footing.

The key members of the team comprises of Santanu Baruah, principal investigator, Manoj Kumar Phukan and Bijit Kumar Choudhury, co-principal investigators.

Sastry mentioned that GSTD has built up a high level of competence both in terms of infrastructure and human resource skills in earthquake seismology studies over the past three decades.

“GSTD of CSIR-NEIST boasts a high level of expertise ranging from earthquake monitoring, to site specific seismic feasibility studies, earthquake precursory studies and is specialized in geodynamics, seismic hazard and vulnerability studies.

“Over the years the high quality research papers published in national and international journals of repute with high impact factor stands as a testimony to vindicate this fact,” he said.

“The GSTD with a team of highly competent earth scientists with diverse specializations has cast footprints globally with R&D ties ups with plethora of R&D and academic institutes and nurtures a very great camaraderie with internationally acclaimed earth scientists.

“GSTD is looking forward with a zealous goal to metamorphose into a Center of Excellence for Geosciences in the time to come,” the director further said.

Saurabh Baruah, chief scientist of CSIR-NEIST said the high rate of sedimentation and erosive power of the river Brahmaputra threw up many challenges to any kind of engineering construction on the river and CSIR-NEIST will rise to the occasion.

Smita Bhattacharyya

Smita Bhattacharyya is Northeast Now Correspondent in Jorhat. She can be reached at: