SRINAGAR: The widening of the Srinagar-Qazigund highway will miss its third deadline as the government has not paid compensation to people whose land was acquired for the project.The government had set Decemeber 2017 as deadline for the four-lane project.
According to a government document in possession of Kashmir Reader, the National Highways Authority of India (NHAI) has not yet paid nearly Rs 86 crore as compensation for land acquisition. The government had earmarked about Rs 391 crore for the acquisition of land, out of which Rs 305 crore has been released. However, land acquisition is yet to take place in the Khrewan-Lassipora area.
About Rs 297 crore has been given to the owners whose land has been acquired for the road-widening, but Rs 8.02 crore is still with the government, not yet spent on land acquisition.
The widening of the Srinagar-Qazigund stretch of National Highway 1A (between Srinagar and Jammu) was planned in 2011. It is one of the most congested parts of the highway. The widening was first set to be completed by June 2014, and then it was extended to 2015, and yet again to December 2017.
The four-lane highway comprises of five sections— Qazigund Bypass, Bijbehara Bypass, Awantipora Bypass, Pampore Bypass and widening of existing highway. The compensation cases, which have obstructed completion of the project, are mainly in Anantnag district.
Since the project took off, Ramkay, the construction agency tasked with the job of highway widening and the government have been involved in the blame game for missing the deadlines.
In comparison, however, Afcon, the construction company entrusted with construction of four-lane Jammu-Udhampur highway completed the project on time despite working in mountainous terrain.
An engineer privy to the project said, Ramkay has currently started blacktopping work of some stretches on the highway notwithstanding dip in temperature, raising doubts about the quality of the work.
“Government should keep check on the ongoing work and seek explanation from the company how they are laying macadam in winter, when government has officially called off the macadamization,” he told Kashmir Reader.
Jammu and Kashmir NHAI Project Director Vipin Sharma told Kashmir Reader that he was on leave and cannot comment on the matter.
“I am on leave, and cannot make any comments on it,” he said.