JAMMU: Describing connectivity as a prerequisite for bolstering economic growth, Chief Minister, Mehbooba Mufti, Tuesday called for more effective coordination between different agencies so that work on various prestigious road projects in the state is carried forward with greater urgency.
She said constructing roads on rugged terrain in a hilly state like J&K is a daunting task for which she sought Centre’s active support in removing hurdles coming in the way of completion of these projects.
The Chief Minister made these remarks today, while chairing a high-level meeting to review the progress of work on National Highways in the state.
The review comes in the backdrop of her meeting with Union Road Transport & Highways Minister, Nitin Gadkari, in New Delhi earlier this month.
Stressing upon factoring in physical and topographical issues while framing road projects, the Chief Minister highlighted the difficult challenges confronting Kashmir valley on account of hostile climatic conditions as well as constraints on the law-and-order front, which she said hamper the already-limited working season. She, however, described as unacceptable the delay in timely-completion of projects in Jammu region, where working season is much longer and the general atmosphere very positive.
“Even in Chenab valley, we have a very limited working season, keeping in view the hilly terrain and difficulty in moving men and machinery,” she said, while also stressing upon assessing the contractors’ capacity to deliver projects on time.
Mehbooba Mufti urged all connected State government departments to work in unison and resolve pending issues with the Ministry of Road Transport & Highways (MoRTH) so that both sides are on the same page. She observed that while work on new alignments goes on, the maintenance of existing alignments of national highways, in particular Jammu-Srinagar National Highway, should not be ignored.
“Our tourist season has already begun and Amarnath Yatra is in the offing. The maintenance of certain critical stretches on Jammu-Srinagar National Highway is of vital importance as poor condition of roads results in frequent accidents, putting the lives of people in grave danger,” she added.
On Ring Roads for Jammu & Srinagar cities, the Chief Minister was informed that while MoRTH will fund the entire construction, the state government will spent only 10 per cent of the cost related to land acquisition and utility shifting. Earlier, MoRTH had proposed 75:25 pattern for LA and shifting of utilities.
The Chief Minister ordered respective Divisional Commissioners to follow up land acquisition proceedings once NHAI (National Highway Authority of India) places indents with respective DCs.
Meanwhile, Rs. 90 crore is expected from the Union Ministry for maintenance of the road while Rs.3 crore has already been spent in minor repairs, the meeting was informed.
The Chief Minister was informed that a new National Highway – Uri-Baramulla-Srinagar-Kargil-Leh – has been carved out of Old NH-IA and presently the road is with BRO, except Z-Morh and Zojila tunnels which are with MoRTH.
Besides Minister for Public Works (R&B) & Parliamentary Affairs, A. R. Veeri, the meeting was also attended by Minister for I&C, Chander Parkash Ganga, Minister of State for S&T, Transport and R&B, Sunil Kumar Sharma, Chief Secretary, B. R. Sharma, Financial Commissioner, Planning & Development, B. B. Vyas and Principal Secretary to the Chief Minister, Navin K. Chaudhary.