nion Minister Jitendra Singh on Monday reviewed the progress of highway and road projects in Jammu and Kashmir with Managing Director of NHIDCL (National Highways and Infrastructure Development Corporation Limited) KK Pathak and asked him to expedite the pending projects on war footing.
Pathak assured the Minister that all the ongoing projects would be completed in a time-bound manner, though some work got hampered due to the Covid pandemic and timelines had to be increased, the Ministry of Personnel, Public Grievances and Pensions said in a statement.
Singh said Prime Minister Narendra Modi allocated more than Rs 1,08,621 crore budget for Jammu and Kashmir, which is the highest-ever budget for it.
“Had detailed review of #JammuAndKashmir road projects with NHIDCL MD Sh KK Pathak. Despite inevitable delays on account of COVID, work in progress in all the important projects including some landmark Highways & Tunnels. Emphasised need to fasten the pace to meet the timelines,” Singh said in a tweet.
He said it will help in rebuilding the economy, create jobs and will usher in all-round development for the Union Territory.
Singh, the Minister of State for Personnel, underlined that after August 5, 2019, there is a visible change in every field, whether related to unfinished projects, implementation of centrally sponsored schemes, infrastructure development and security situation in Jammu and Kashmir.
Pathak informed the Minister that work on most of the 17 highways projects with sanctioned cost of over Rs 15,385 crore is going on smoothly.
Out of 17 approved projects, 12 are in the Jammu region, while five are in the Kashmir region.
Singh noted that out of 12 such projects, six major ones are in his Lok Sabha constituency of Udhampur-Kathua-Doda. These include Chenani-Sudhmahadev Road, Goha-Khellani Package 1 and 2, Goha-Khellani Package 3 that is Khellani Tunnel and Khillani-Khanabal package-2.
The Minister said out of six prospective projects to be awarded in near future, 5 are in the Jammu region and here also Sudhmahadev-Daranga Tunnel package 1 and 2 fall in his constituency.
Earlier, in March this year, Singh had met Union Minister for Road Transport and Highways (MoRTH) Nitin Gadkari for allocation of funds to enable timely completion of the proposed Chattergala tunnel which will connect district Kathua with district Doda in Jammu and Kashmir, enroute to the new highway via Basohli-Bani through Chattergalla to touch Bhaderwah and Doda.
‘This is going to be a historic landmark project providing all-weather alternate road connectivity between the two distant regions and reducing the travel time from Doda to Lakhanpur to just around four hours,’ the statement said.