Minister of Public Works Naeem Akhtar today said that work on two new highways in the State would begin soon and it will not only enhance the connectivity but increase expertise and competence of Roads and Buildings Department.
The Minister was speaking at a meeting to review the status of work on two new mega road connectivity projects Srinagar-Shopian-Qazigund and Kargil-Zanaskar highways to be constructed at a cumulative cost of Rs 6000 crore.
The meeting was attended by Minister for Revenue, Disaster Management, Relief Rehabilitation & Reconstruction and Parliamentary Affairs Abdul Rehman Veeri, Minister of State for Forest, Ecology and Environment, Animal & Sheep Husbandry, Cooperative and Fisheries Mir Zahoor Ahmad, MLA Shopian Mohammed Yousuf Bhat, MLA Wachi Ajaz Ahmad Mir, MLA Pulwama Mohammad Khalil Bandh, Deputy Commissioners of Anantnag, Pulwama, Shopian and Kulgam, Chief Engineer R&B and PMGSY and other officials.
The Minister said that Rs 1800 crore Srinagar-Qazigund highway also known as Highway-444 and Rs 4200 crore Kargil-Zanaskar highway also known as Highway-301 will benefit lakhs of people in connecting districts in particular and entire state in general. The Minister said that the centre has entrusted the R&B department to undertake these mega projects and it will greatly enhance our technical skills and the department will emerge as one of the major road builders in the country.
The Minister asked the Deputy Commissioners of concerned districts to immediately start land acquisition process. Deputy Commissioner Pulwama was given a deadline of one month to complete all the work necessary for land acquisition. It was revealed that at certain bottlenecks flyovers will be built to bypass the spots like graveyards where acquisition is not possible.
The Ministers also reviewed the progress of other road projects under PMGSY and CRF.
The meeting was informed that around Rs 5000 crore are available for upgradation of roads in Jammu and Kashmir under the flagship Centrally Sponsored Schemes (CSS), PMGSY and CRF for the current fiscal.
The meeting was informed that while Rs 2800 crore are available for J&K under PMGSY another Rs 1000 crore under the same programme are in the pipeline. Similarly, in another flagship programme, CRF Rs 1000 crore are available for upgradation of road network in the State.
The meeting was informed that around 4000 kms of road length is targeted for upgradation in J&K during the current fiscal.
The Minister emphasized on expediting the road upgradation programme to make up for the precious time washed-out on the developmental front because of the unrest last year. He said the Public Works Department is gearing up to launch a massive road upgradation programme across the State this year and the men and machinery have already been mobilized for the purpose.
The Minister said that the PWD has set a target of macadamizing around 4000 kms of road length across the State and preference would be given to the cities, towns, tourist resorts and the areas which were not covered under road upgradation because of the unrest last year.
Seeking people’s cooperation in accomplishing this major task, the Minister said that improved road communication and education are vital to the socio-economic growth of a community and people should not only facilitate smooth execution of works but also keep a close watch on the quality of works in their respective areas.