Action needed on road restoration, not mere words: HC to govt

Action needed on road restoration, not mere words: HC to govt

Srinagar: The J&K High Court on Thursday directed government to file a detailed status report by October 29regarding money released and road restoration work carried out so far in Kashmir Valley.
Hearing a Public Interest Litigation, the division bench of Chief Justice N Paul Vasanthakumar and Justice Tashi Rabstan also observed that “mere words are not sufficient, it should be in action.”
The bench’s observation followed submission by counsel for National Highway Authority of India, RAMKY Infrastructure Ltd and state government that they have filed status reports about the works carried out by them to make highway and other roads motorable.
“We visited Shopian recently (where they inaugurated District Alternate Dispute Resolution Centre last week) and saw road condition personally… Mere words are not sufficient, it should be in action,” the bench said.
Advocate G N Shaheen, representing civil society Tral which filed the PIL in May this year, submitted that even road from Patha Chowk to Srinagar was not fully travel worthy.
“Let this court appoint any lawyer as court commissioner and report to this court about the condition of the road,” Shaheen said.
“We have personally seen the road conditions during our recent visit to Shopian,” the bench said and directed the government to file the status report by October 29, indicating money sanctioned and released so far for road restoration in the Valley. The report should indicate restoration work carried till date, the bench added.
In May this year, the Roads and Building department had submitted that government was yet to release Rs 550 crore it needs to restore the flood damaged roads in Valley.
Then, the chief engineer R&B Satish Razdan had informed the court that 1696km out of total 13898.37 km (single lane) roads were badly damaged due to last year’s floods.
Restoration will cost about Rs 327.16 crore and none of it has been released, he had said.
The chief engineer said that his department had submitted to the government a plan for permanent restoration and upgrading of 25.24km of roads in cities and towns, which will cost Rs 385 crore.
The civil society has sought directions for repairing the National Highway from Jammu to Srinagar especially from Banihal to Srinagar and Srinagar to Baramulla.
It also seeks directions to macadamize the existing old NH1A to make it fit for vehicular traffic to the minimum international and national standards level to the convenience of general public at large.
The petitioners also seek directions to the government to constitute a team of experts to have physical spot inspection and conduct survey of NH1A and other link roads of Kashmir valley to assess the gravity of dilapidated condition of the roads and submit a detailed report with complete remedial suggestions in a time bound period.
It also seeks direction for fixing liability of maintenance of the existing HH1A from Jammu to Srinagar for the purposes of maintenance and development, on war footing basis.

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