SRINAGAR: The National Highways Authority of India (NHAI), the executing agency of the ambitious Kashmir Ring Road project, has awarded the contract for the construction of the project nearly seven years after it was conceived by the Jammu and Kashmir Government.
A Government of India spokesperson said that a Letter of Award for construction of the proposed project from Galander to Crossing of Sumbal Road on the Jammu-Srinagar highway has been given to M/s Ramky Infrastructure Ltd. The project would be implemented on Engineering, Procurement and Construction (EPC) mode, with a construction period of 36 months, it said.
Believed to be a game changer, the much-needed Ring Road project for Srinagar is spread over 42 kilometres and will be four lanes with provision for expansion to six lanes. Starting at Galander, it will meet the Highway at Narbal Junction in its first phase. Its next phase will run from Narbal to Gandarbal, moving forward to connect with Sonmarg, all the way to Baltal base camp and finally to Ladakh. Its cost is estimated at Rs 939 crore.
The spokesperson said that the entire greenfield alignment has been proposed on the western side of Srinagar City to provide connectivity to the habitation that side. It will also provide smooth and easy traffic flow in and around the summer capital. Vehicles carrying heavy machinery to border/strategic areas of Baramula, Uri, Kupwara, Bandipora and Gandarbal will have an easier, congestion-free passage along this route. The Ring Road/Bypass will traverse through 52 villages and five districts (Pulwama, Budgam, Baramula, Srinagar and Bandipora).
The project had first to face issues from a section of farmers whose land fell under its proposed route and who were reluctant to give land to the state. However the land has to a large extent been acquired after negotiations such that work can be started. There are still some sections of farmers, who are not ready to give up their land. But negotiations are on with them to find a way.
The technical bids were opened on January 30, in which three companies participated.