Concerned over frequent closure of the Jammu-Srinagar National Highway, authorities have directed the agencies concerned to ensure its proper maintenance so that transportation as well as tourism activities are not hampered, officials said on Saturday.
Travelling on the 270-km highway, the only all weather road linking Kashmir with rest of the country, had turned into a nightmare for the commuters in view of the frequent occurrence of landslides between Ramban and Banihal stretch. Many have blamed the alleged poor planning and slow pace of the ongoing four-laning of the highway.
An official spokesperson on Saturday said that Divisional Commissioner, Jammu, SanjeevVerma had visited Ramban on Friday to review the ongoing highway widening and railway projects besides taking stock of arrangements for the AmarnathYatra which is scheduled to begin in south Kashmir from July 1.
“Verma discussed at a high level meeting, the issue of frequent blockage of highway due to landslides and long traffic jamming causing much inconvenience to the commuters,” he said.
“He directed the construction companies for proper maintenance of the road stretch from Nashri to Banihal to avoid disruption of traffic movement so that transportation as well as tourism activities are not hampered,” he added.
During the meeting, several issues and bottlenecks like dumping sites, land acquisition, compensation of acquired structures, shifting of electricity towers, cutting of trees coming under alignment of these projects and other legal and technical issues were discussed, the official said.
The Divisional Commissioner instructed the construction agencies to strictly adhere to stipulated timelines and quality specifications in these projects, he added.
Verma also directed the district administration to ensure close monitoring and asked the executing agencies to achieve the targets within a fixed time frame, he said.
Emphasizing on the importance of highway four-laning and railway projects, Verma directed the district administration and construction companies to coordinate for removing bottlenecks, if any. He also directed the officers of National Highway Authority of India to prepare a rehabilitation plan for those who donated lands, the spokesman said.
Meanwhile, arrangements being made by the administration for this year’s annual yatra including establishment of ‘langars’ (community kitchens) and other facilities were also reviewed. He directed the tourism department to install bio-toilets on identified locations along the highway, the spokesperson said.