Mumbai News

Mumbai: Tensions with China, Covid hit coastal road tunnel work – Times of India

MUMBAI: Covid-19 coupled with tensions between India and China have delayed tunnelling work for the underground section of the coastal road here.

The components of the tunnel boring machine (TBM) were imported from China in April. Since then they have been lying at the work site at Priyadarshini Park, Napean Sea Road, waiting for specialists to assemble them. The TBM will be the biggest yet to be used in any project in India.
The coastal road’s contractor, L&T, is now trying to mobilise Chinese engineers, who arrived in India earlier for work on the Mumbai and Bangalore Metro railway systems.
Experts say big infrastructure projects in Mumbai and the rest of the country are heavily reliant on Chinese heavy machinery and calls for boycotting Chinese goods will only hurt these projects.
Biggest TBM in India needs the assembling of 100 parts
It will take two months to assemble the tunnel boring machine (TBM) components at the coastal road work site at Priyadarshini Park. BMC officials say that unless Chinese engineers are allowed to work on the machine, the project will suffer delays.
“Around 100 pieces of the TBM, imported from China, need to be put together. Because of India-China tensions, contractor L&T has been unable to get clearances for engineers from the Chinese manufacturer to reach Mumbai for the work. But Chinese engineers already working on the TBMs being used in Metro 3 and the Bangalore Metro can help assemble the coastal road TBM, the biggest in India, as the Metro TBMs are similar machines, size being the only difference,” said a BMC official.
“After the machine is assembled, we need to test it to start the actual work. But even for that we need engineers from the Chinese company that manufactured the machine. It was tested in China in December 2019, before being dismantled for shipping to India, but a test needs to be done again after it is assembled,” the official said.
As per reports, eight of 18 TBMs currently in the city for the Metro 3 project have been manufactured by Chinese-owned companies. The remaining 10, though are by companies registered in the West, too have been manufactured in China.
(Inputs: Manthan Mehta)