There is a reason to cheer for J&K government which has been struggling to complete several road projects for want of funding. The landlocked state will get a slice of share from Rs 22,500 crore earmarked by Government of India for expansion of highways in hilly states.
This was disclosed by the Union Road Transport and Highways Ministry in the Parliament which is currently in the session. The funding will be utilised for construction of 538 kilometers of road length and tunnels, along highways, in the Himalayan states including J&K.
A part of the funding will also go into completion of road projects which have already been outlined in Prime Minister’s Development Package (PMDP) for J&K. The mega-package was announced by Prime Minister NarendraModi during his visit to the summer capital Srinagar in 2015.
While in the last three years 290 kms of road length has been completed, along the highways, in J&K, costing Rs 120 core, the Union Ministry has acknowledged that different projects in the State were facing delays owing to “host of reasons”. A number of key projects like four-laning of Srinagar-Jammu highway, construction of Zojila and Mughal road tunnels are already facing years of delay.
Similarly, construction of tunnels at several critical points on Srinagar-Jammu highway has also been delayed. This project, which also includes widening of the highway, has already missed several deadlines owing to “lackadaisical” approach of National Highway Authority of India (NHAI). The road widening project has been divided into six sub-projects – Srinagar-Qazigund stretch (68 kms), Qazigund-Banihal (16 kms), Banihal-Ramban (36 kms), Ramban-Udhampur (43 kms), Chenani–Nashri (12 kms), Jammu-Udhampur (65 kms). While the work on Jammu side was complete, the road stretches, which are prone to landslides, were still awaiting up gradation to make it safe for journey.