Rs 42000 Cr PMDP allocation to give push to connectivity
Road Safety Audit Cell established
Jammu: Stressing the need for expanding inter and intra-state connectivity, Minister for Public Works, Naeem Akhtar on Monday said ironically even after 70 years of independence, connectivity continues to be the biggest challenge for Jammu and Kashmir.
“Kashmir must be only part of the world today, where people have to switch on the radio in the morning to know about the status of the road connecting them with the outside world,” Naeem Akhtar said while winding up the discussion on Demand for Grants of the Public Works and allied Departments in the Legislative Assembly this evening.
He said with the efforts of the previous regimes and the present Government, there is now hope that by the end of this year, there will be improved connectivity between Kashmir and rest of the country with the accomplishment of the upgradation of major portion of Srinagar-Jammu national highway.
He said there are connectivity issues not only between Srinagar and Jammu, but between various sub-regions as well which need to be addressed with focused resolve.
To further boost the connectivity in the State, the Minister said that an allocation of Rs 42000 crore has been earmarked under the Prime Minister’s Development Package (PMDP) for construction of national highways and tunnels in the State. He said the prestigious Chenani-Nashri tunnel has been operationalized and 84 km long Mughal road has also been completed that connects Bufliaz in Jammu province to Shopian in Kashmir province.
He said the Government of India has declared Kargil-Zanskar road, Srinagar-Shopian-Qazigund road and Jammu-Akhnoor-Poonch road as National Highways – NH 301, NH 444 and NH 144 ‑ respectively while as in-principle approval has been accorded for declaring Dinga Amb-Challan-Udhampur road, Lakhanpur-Mahanpur-Basohli-Dunera road and Basohli-Bhaderwah-Doda road as national highways.
“The work on Z-Morh tunnel and road from Udhampur to Ramban and Ramban to Banihal are going on in full swing,” the Minister said, adding the Centre has sanctioned special maintenance package of over Rs 95 crore for road projects.
The Minister said the work for preparation of DPRs for realigned portion of Batote-Kishtwar–Sinthan-Khannabal, Chenani-Sudhmahadev-Goha-Khellani including 3.5 km long tunnel at Goha, Sudhmahadev-Goha tunnel and Singhpora-Vailoo tunnel is under process. For construction of tunnel on Mughal road, tender has been floated by NHIDCL for preparation of DPR, he added.
Government is making all out efforts for construction of Sadhna tunnel, four-laning of Srinagar-Baramulla Highway from Baramulla-Kupwara-Sangrama and providing inter-district connectivity through an alternate highway from Ganderbal, Bandipora and Lolab.
Under PM’s package, two ring road projects have been approved for the state at the cumulative cost of Rs 4,000 crore, one in Srinagar at the cost of Rs 2,201 crore and other in Jammu at the cost of Rs 2,097 crore. DPRs for constructing semi-ring roads around twin cities of Srinagar and Jammu have been prepared, he added.
“The construction of Mughal road reduced the travel distance from Poonch to Srinagar to 175 km, Rajouri to Srinagar to 200 km and Poonch to Srinagar to 135 km,” he said, stressing that the government is making all out efforts to get Mughal road declared as National Highway and construct 8.5 km long tunnel between Zaznar and Chatapani at the estimated cost of Rs 3,500 crore to render an all-weather road connectivity in the region.
The Minister informed that the GoI has approved Phase-XI of Pradhan Mantri Gram Sadak Yojana (PMGSY) that includes 199 project proposals worth Rs 955.63 crore covering a road length of 1,211.31 km across the state.
Under PMGSY, 131 projects have been completed in 2017-18. The government received Rs 319.375 crore from the Centre, besides one-time special dispensation of Rs 1,287 crore as cost of land acquisition for PMGSY projects, he informed.
Naeem informed the House that Government of India has agreed to sanction projects worth Rs 1200 crore under Central Road Fund (CRF). He said out of 230 sanctioned schemes under the plan, 73 projects have been completed at the cost of Rs 1,048.49 crore and 17 new schemes are targeted to be completed in 2018-19, he stressed.
“The work on prestigious Bhaderwah-Chamba road sanctioned under ISC has been completed,” the Minister said, adding the work is in full swing on 1,210 m span (double lane) pre-stressed bridge over river Ravi at village Keerian Gandialat the estimated cost of Rs 158.84 crore.
Stressing that NABARD has been the main source of funding for the department to build rural infrastructure related to roads and bridges, the Minister informed that 51 projects have been completed in current year while as 11 projects would be completed by March, 2018.
“156 new projects costing Rs 429.14 crore have been recommended for funding under NABARD RIDF XXIII and 109 schemes are targeted to be completed in 2018-19”, he informed.
He informed that Rs 580 crore have been allocated for PWD works under World Bank assistance for Jhelum Tawi Flood Recovery project.
Stressing that the state has witnessed a twofold rise in macadamization of roads during the current fiscal, Minister for Public Works Naeem Akhtar said the government has macadamized a total of 4,056.25 km road length in 2017-18 till November, 2017 including 1,330.02 km in Jammu and 2,726.23 km in Kashmir.
“The government would macadamize a road length of 3,898.12 km in 2018-19 under different schemes”, he added.
Giving details about the works of JKPCC, the Minister said the Corporation is executing about 377 works in the state at the cost of Rs 4,598.42 crore.
The Minister said the Corporation constructed Pushwara bridge in Anantnag, Manzgam-Panzgam Bridge and Meelyal Bridge in Kupwara, Pedestrain Bridge in Rajbagh, Polytechnic Colleges in Reasi, Samba and Kathua and other projects in the state. It would complete 30 bridges/roads and more than 27 buildings of different departments in 2018-19, he added.
Informing that about 6000 km road length and 600 bridges were damaged in 2014 floods, the Minister said the government launched a massive programme to improve riding surface of roads.
The government spent Rs 1,220 crore (Rs 623.66 crore in Kashmir and Rs 596.34 crore in Jammu) on this programme in 2015-16, 2016-17 and 2017-18 till November 2017 and cleared a liability of Rs 200 crore this year, he added.
The Minister said 511 bridges are under construction in the state and 18 bridges have been completed in current year while as 26 bridges are expected to be completed during next fiscal. He informed that 204 bridges, 117 in Jammu and 87 in Kashmir, are targeted to be completed upto 2019-20.
Under ‘Prime Minister’s package for flood damaged infrastructure’, the Minister said the work on 166 bridges has been completed while as 18 bridges would be completed by March, 2018, he added.