Rock burst in Neelum Jhelum Tunnel causes accident – 3 local labourers dead, 14 others including one Chinese injured

Lahore, June 01, 2015 (PPI-OT): The spokesman of the Pakistan Water and Power Development Authority (WAPDA) has said that there was a rock burst at about 12:15 last night in right tunnel of the Neelum Jhelum Hydropower Project, where two Tunnel Boring Machines (TBMs) are deployed. As a result of the accident, three local labourers died and 14 others including a Chinese sustained injuries. The injured were immediately shifted to the CMH Muzaffarabad, where best possible medical facilities are being provided to them. He further said that no labourer is trapped in the tunnel.

The spokesman categorically said that the accident at the tunnel of Neelum Jhelum Hydropower Project was caused by the natural phenomenon of rock burst. He said that there was neither any leakage of gas from the tunnel nor the tunnel collapsed. He further said that the project authorities have been directed to ensure best possible remedial measures to avoid such accidents in future.

Explaining the phenomenon of rock burst, the spokesman said that natural stresses are created in the rocks during excavation of tunnel. When these stresses breakout, they release gases and rocks of different sizes, which damage manpower and machines deployed there.

In order to avoid accident, holes are dug in periphery of tunnels to release pressure of rocks. On the advice of the international Panel of Experts, these holes were also made at Neelum Jhelum Project. He further said that rock burst is a recurring phenomenon, which takes place during the process of tunnel excavation. However, in case of rock burst of higher magnitude, the damage is likely to be greater.

For more information, contact:
Muhammad Abid Rana
Director Public Relations
Water and Power Development Authority (WAPDA)
G-32, WAPDA House, Lahore
Tel: +92-42-99202633
Fax: +92-42-99203144
Cell: +92-333-4458293