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Meet Urja, the machine that dug a 855-metre tunnel under Bengaluru

In a major step towards providing an infrastructure boost to Bengaluru, the tunnel boring machine pressed into operation to dig through the earth has successfully emerged after 13 months.

The machine, named Urja, carved an 855-metre tunnel from the Cantonment area to Shivajinagar.

Speaking on the occasion, Karnataka Chief Minister Bommai said that this project was supported by all elected representatives and also received financial aid from the central government.

He said once the Phase 2 project gets completed, the Bengaluru Metro will cover 56 km.

The chief minister said that officials had been given a deadline till December 2025 to connect the Metro to the international airport.

BMRCL Managing Director Anjum Parvez said that rocks posed a hurdle during the drilling operation. However, the machine continued to drill through safely. On average, 3.5 km were covered per day. On some days, even half a kilometre was difficult to drill due to rocks.

Parvez also apologized to homeowners as, during the drilling process, slush entered a few homes. A total of nine machines are in place doing tunnelling work on various routes and none have encountered any issues.

Mazhar Ahmed, AEE Metro Tunnel Incharge said no accidents were reported in the last 13 months.

He said that assembling the Chinese-made Urja takes around 45 to 60 days and working on Cantonment and Shivajinagar was more challenging as this area had old buildings.

In all, 200 people were deployed in this stretch and about. In each batch working shift, 60 were deployed to monitor 24x7 work.