Union Minister of State (Independent Charge) for Development of North Eastern Region (DoNER), MoS PMO, Dr Jitendra Singh today asked the Jammu & Kashmir Government to expedite the execution of centrally funded roads and other projects.
He said, issues like delayed preparation of DPRs, prolonged procedure of land acquisition, delay in forest clearance and delayed floating of tenders are among the common factors responsible for delay in most of the centrally funded road and bridge projects in the state.
Addressing a public gathering here today after inaugurating a bridge on River Bhini, Dr Jitendra Singh congratulated the Border Roads Organisation (BRO) for timely completion of this bridge and also recalled that the landmark "Atal Setu" bridge at Basholi, which is the first of its kind in North India, was also completed by BRO before time, which made it possible to be dedicated to the public on the eve of former Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee's birthday after whom the bridge had been named.
Dr Jitendra Singh noted that while most of the road and bridge projects under BRO are progressing at the expected pace, the roads and bridges funded through Central Road Fund (CRF) or Pradhan Mantri Gram Sadak Yojana (PMGSY), which are to be executed by the state authorities, have not progressed at the expected pace.
He said, with the Bhini river bridge being dedicated to the public today, the connectivity will increase between Pathankot and Udhampur and in near future with the commissioning of the Sundrikot tunnel close to this bridge, the connectivity of this place with Kathua will also become easier and less time – consuming.
He disclosed that the DPR for Sundrikot tunnel has been submitted to the National Highway Authority of India (NHAI).
Another game – changer for the Billawar Bani region, said Dr Jitender Singh, would be the Chattergala tunnel, for which the approval has been obtained and will be jointly carried forward by BRO and NHAI.
This tunnel, he said, has been included in "approved" list of the BRO but considering its high budget, it has to go through different stages of surveys, land acquisition, construction tender etc., which may take many years.
However, once this tunnel becomes operational, the travel time between Doda-Bhaderwah to Basholi-Billawar will be reduced to just about 5 hours and it will provide an all – weather road option to boost trade and jobs, he said.
On the occasion, Dr Jitendra Singh announced Rs. 1 crore of MPLAD fund to be spent in Billawar.
Dr Jitendra Singh also announced Rs. 20 lakh for setting up a Dental section in the Billawar Hospital. He also earmarked another Rs. 25 lakh to build a community hall in Billawar or the location as per the preference of the local population.