Bandipora: The work on the Bandipora-Lolab road project that started 14 years ago has not resumed after coming to a halt a decade back.
As per the locals, the project started in 2007 spending Rs 1.48 crore, and the earth cutting was done on a 5-km road stretch from Binlipora to Ketsen village in Aloosa tehsil.
However, in 2011, the officials said that the Forest department raised objections as the road would cut deep across the forests, and refused clearance.
With that the construction came to a halt and never took off even when the R&B department submitted a preliminary report to the government for the construction of the double-lane tunnel from Chechinar Bandipora to Abderbug Lolab.
“The double-lane tunnel project incurred huge cost on the state exchequer and the idea was supposedly dropped and discarded for this reason,” Chief Planning Officer, Bandipora Imtiyaz Ahmad told Greater Kashmir.
The officials said that the department was told to find an alternative to the tunnel project so that work on the “over the surface” route would be taken up but with minimal damage to the green gold.
They said that the alternative project of a 28-kilometre road stretch between Ketsan in Bandipora and Lolab in Kupwara was submitted to the government by the R&B department, Bandipora.
However, no status report was received on the project.
Locals said that the project would have benefited a large population of these districts and helped in terms of connectivity, economy and tourism.
They said that the distance of Srinagar from Kupwara would be reduced by over 20 km.
R&B department Baramulla Executive Officer Abdul Qayoom told Greater Kashmir that the project DPR worth Rs 169 crore had been submitted to the government.
He said that a local delegation recently raised questions about the road project during their interaction with Union Minister for Tribal Affairs Arjun Munda’s visit.