Six years on, bids yet to start for Kashmir Ring Road

Six years on, bids yet to start for Kashmir Ring Road
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Srinagar: Approved six years ago by the Omar Abdullah-led government, the Kashmir Ring Road project still has years to wait for its construction to begin as it is still going through the bidding and land acquisition process.
A top official of the project’s executing agency, the National Highway Authority of India (NHAI), told Kashmir Reader on condition of anonymity that the bids would be opened on January 30, after which there will be allotment and only then will machine mobilisation be started.
“This process will take months, for sure, before construction can start. Before that, acquisition of the land required should be complete,” the official said. “And if the land required won’t be available, the project might take more time. In case bidding and acquisition goes well, then we would be able to complete the project within three years from now. But that is still not likely.”
Former chief minister Omar Abdullah had approved the more than Rs 3,000 crore project in 2012 for the twin cities of Jammu and Srinagar. The proposed Ring Road project for Srinagar, which will be four lanes with provision for expansion to six lanes, will start at Galander and meet the Highway at Narbal Junction in its first phase. Under Phase II, a two-way road will start at Narbal and meet at Wayul in Ganderbal. The road will be built at a cost of Rs 1,903 crore, of which the land acquisition component has been worked out to over Rs 900 crore.
“We have released money to the state in different tranches to the tune of Rs 300 crore. The state has told us they are in the advanced stage of acquisition, and soon we will be releasing more money,” the official said.
The official said that the road length in Phase I will be 34.72 kilometres and in Phase II, 27.2 kilometres. He said that at present the intention is to acquire the Phase I land which will have 155 culverts, two road over-bridges, two flyovers, five major junctions, 17 minor junctions and one toll plaza. The two-lane road from Narbal to Ganderbal will have 135 culverts, five major junctions and nine minor junctions.
Asked whether there was any opposition from the people for giving the land, the official said, “These issues have been part of all projects in the past which have been resolved amicably.
“In case there is any (opposition) in this regard, the state can manage it because it is guarded by legislation which empowers it to take over land for the larger public good,” the official added.