US firm comes forward to shift Tipu armoury

US firm comes forward to shift Tipu armoury

A US-based high-end and precision technology firm has come forward to shift the Tipu armoury in Srirangapatna by 100 metres to facilitate the railway track doubling project between Mysore and Bangalore. The armoury weighs more than 850 metric tonne.

The shifting of the 18th century structure has become a challenge for the South Western Railway with there being no taker for the project. The Railways had floated an open tender last year for entering into a joint venture to execute the uphill task, but had to draw a blank since there were no bidders.

The plan hit a dead end for two reasons: First, none of the Indian firms was capable of shifting the armoury without damaging it, and secondly, foreign agencies which had the technology did not come forward for the Rs 12-crore project as they felt it was not worth their sweat.

The armoury, one of the three similar structures located in the area, measures about 40 feet in length and 30 feet in width with one metre thick walls and a 15-foot high wall. The project which had initially faced objections from the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) and the National Monuments Authority (NMA) got the clearance from them almost a year ago. The Railways had made several attempts to convince the ASI and NMA to allow them to rebuild a replica of the armoury brick by brick, but they did not agree. Speaking to Deccan Herald on Wednesday, Adesh Sharma, Chief Administrative Officer (Construction),  South Western Railway said, “We have zeroed in on a US firm which has the experience of performing such a task. We are in the final stages of discussion and within 10 days, we will be able to complete the formalities pertaining to entering into a joint venture.”

The firm will shift the armoury by 100 metres with highly synchronised jacks with a 0.1mm precision.

With this, the track-doubling project is expected to meet its December 2015 deadline. The armoury is situated in between Nagarhalli and Pandavpura.

 Officials of the Railways say that such a task on a historical monument has so far never been executed in India and therefore it took such a long time to find the right firm.

Had it not been for the US-based firm, the officials had decided on a plan ‘B’ for the specific line in order to meet its present deadline for the project. Officials said the entire track-doubling project had been affected due to the delay in shifting of the armoury.

Already, doubling work has been completed till Mandya and beyond. “If we were unable to get a firm to do this job, we would have let the track be single at an angle of 8 degrees curve. The only thing is if we get the track doubled, it would have be a better alignment,” added a top railways official.

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