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 HighwaysMinistry in the Parliament which is currently in the session. The funding willbe 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 roadprojects which have already been outlined in Prime Minister's DevelopmentPackage (PMDP) for J&K. The mega-package was announced by Prime MinisterNarendraModi during his visit to the summer capital Srinagar in 2015.
While in the last three years 290 kms of road length hasbeen completed, along the highways, in J&K, costing Rs 120 core, the UnionMinistry has acknowledged that different projects in the State were facingdelays owing to "host of reasons". A number of key projects like four-laning ofSrinagar-Jammu highway, construction of Zojila and Mughal road tunnels arealready facing years of delay.
Similarly, construction of tunnels at several criticalpoints on Srinagar-Jammu highway has also been delayed. This project, whichalso includes widening of the highway, has already missed several deadlinesowing 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 (65kms). While the work on Jammu side was complete, the road stretches, which areprone to landslides, were still awaiting up gradation to make it safe forjourney.