MHA to hold meeting on JK highways tomorrow

Greater Kashmir

Bottlenecks in 4-laning of Srinagar-Jammu highway on agenda

Srinagar, Jan 20: The Union Ministry of Home Affairs has convened a high-level meeting at New Delhi on Thursday to review the progress and issues related to J&K’s “national highways” including the Srinagar-Jammu highway, sources said.
Sources told Greater Kashmir that the Union Home Secretary Anil Goswami would chair the meeting at the North Block to sort-out bottlenecks in the projects and contentious issues between different agencies involved in maintenance of state highways.
The meeting would be attended by chairman National Highway Authority of India, Secretary Ministry of Road, Transport and Highways, Director General Border Roads Organization, JK’s Commissioner/Secretary Roads & Buildings Department and Chief Engineer, Project Beacon.
According to sources, the progress of four-laning of Srinagar-Jammu highway and its impediments like slow pace of work, land acquisition and poor maintenance are set to come up for discussion. The National Highways Authority of India has come under criticism for poor implementation of the project. The 4-laning of the 300-kilometre long Highway  is being taken up in six sub-projects.
While four-laning of Srinagar-Banihal, Qazigund-Banihal, Chenani-Nashri and Jammu-Udhampur is underway, the work on remaining two projects—Ramban-Banihal and Udhampur-Ramban—is yet to start.
The physical progress recorded on Srinagar-Banihal portion is just around 35 percent even as it was to be completed in June last year.
According to sources, the issues related to other highways including Batote-Kishtwar, Srinagar-Kargil and Domail-Katra would also be discussed in the meeting.
Omar Abdullah during his stint as Chief Minister had repeatedly raised poor implementation of Srinagar-Jammu highway with the United Progressive Alliance regime and even the National Democratic Alliance after it came into power in May 2014.
Last month, Goswami reviewed the progress of projects taken up under the Prime Minister’s Reconstruction’s Program (PMRP)in the state and passed on several directions to central and state to fast-track their completion.