SRINAGAR: The National Highway Authority of India (NHAI), the executing agency of the ambitious Kashmir Ring Road project, has opened its bids after the project was in waiting for nearly six years.
A top officer of the NHAI told Kashmir Reader on condition of anonymity that the technical bids were opened on January 30, in which three companies participated. The bids are currently undergoing evaluation.
“We have opened technical bids and are evaluating them. It will take us some weeks for a decision, and then financial bids will be opened,” the official said. “Both the bidding processes will be complete in two months, and the work on the construction will begin.”
Approved six years ago by the Omar Abdullah-led government, the Kashmir Ring Road project has not been sanctioned to any company. Bids were invited for the first time and opened without any delay, unlike in the past. Though the project will still take years for completion, the opening of bids is seen as light at the end of a long tunnel.
An officer, who works in the implementing section of the NHAI in Kashmir, told Kashmir Reader that the opening of bids is a positive sign that the work will continue without any hiccups and delay.
“Since the past six years, the project has faced issues on multiple fronts, which has caused its delay. This opening of bids is a sign of sustained work. I am hopeful that it will be completed soon so the work could begin,” the official added.
The project, which was conceived in 2011, had first to face issues from a section of farmers whose land fell under it and who were reluctant to give it to the state. However the land has been acquired after negotiations to a large extent, such that work can be started, the official said. There are still some sections of farmers, he said, who are not ready to give up their land. But negotiations are with them to find a way, he added.
The much-needed Road project for Srinagar, which will be four lanes with provision for expansion to six lanes, is believed to be a game changer. It will start at Gallendar and meet the Highway at Narbal Junction in its first phase. Its next phase will run from Narbal to Ganderbal, moving forward to connect with Sonmarg, all the way to Baltal base camp and finally to Ladakh.