Work on road projects at a snail’s pace
Connecting Kashmir with Doda, Kishtwar
Srinagar, Mar 24: Even after being conceived decades ago, the road project that would have linked Kashmir with erstwhile Doda districts is not even meeting its deadline of halfway completion.
The road would not only facilitate trade and travel by shortening the distance between Kashmir and districts of Jammu division but would have strengthened ties between the people.
The proposal for the construction of the road was mooted in 1977 during Sheikh Abdullah-led National Conference government and the work was started next year.
If completed the road would have linked districts of Doda, Ramban, Banihal and even Kishtwar with Islamabad in south Kashmir.
The total length of the road up to Srinagar is 130 Kilometres and it would have reduced the distance by 90 Kms from Doda.
However, in the past three decades, the Roads and Buildings department, which is the executing agency for the project, has completed work on 24 km from Doda side (up to Desa) and 45 km from Kashmir side (up to Kapan in Dooru).
Commissioner/Secretary R&B, Mehboob Iqbal claimed that on the Doda side, 24 km stretch of the road was motorable up to Manjami while 30 km road was motorable from Kashmir.
Officials said the linkage between erstwhile Doda with Kashmir requires construction of a tunnel across the Pir Panjal Range to connect Desa with Kapran.
They said little has been done to set the process in motion even after the Chief Minister Omar Abdullah had announced its construction last year.
“It is on the conceptual stage, no survey has been undertaken so far,” the officials said.
A top official of the R&B department said there was no time-frame set for the completion of the project. “We don’t know even the cost the project is going to incur. This lackadaisical approach of the successive regimes is a main reason for incompletion of the project.”
However, Iqbal said the department had begun the process for constructing the tunnel which would be four kilometres long and would come up near Gayi in Desa.
“The feasibility report for the tunnel will be prepared soon,” he said.
A senior National Conference leader and member Legislative Council Khalid Najeeb Suharwardy said the long ignored road was important for boosting the economy of the region for its proximity to Kashmir. The road would up lift the tourism sector of the region particularly in view of many potential tourist spots like Margan top, Poshpatan, Damatop and Laldraman, he said.
Residents of Doda have been longing for the construction of the road. “It was dream project of late Sheikh Muhammad Abdullah. But unfortunately it has been marred due to the political indifferences,” said Shams Syed, a teacher from Doda.
Daksum - Simthan- Kishtwar Road:
In March 2001, the National Conference government had proposed to declare 132 kilometre long Kishtwar-Simthan Road a Highway to speed up its development.
The work funded Prime Minister’s Reconstruction program was handed over to BRO. However, it was suspended in June 2008 after killing of Beacon officials near Simthan.
Officials said the work was later re-started but it has been going on at snail’s pace.
Lastupdate on : Wed, 24 Mar 2010 21:30:00 Makkah time
Lastupdate on : Wed, 24 Mar 2010 18:30:00 GMT
Lastupdate on : Thu, 25 Mar 2010 00:00:00 IST
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