Jammu: The much-awaited Jammu-Akhnoor four-laning road project, sanctioned by the Union Government in 2015, is back on the rails after missing several deadlines.
Jammu-Akhnoor highway is a stretch of national highway 144-A, which connects the border districts of Rajouri and Poonch with Jammu and is also a very important defence road.
“Almost all the hindrances have been cleared and the construction work has gained pace from 2021 to 2023. We have made the road stretch up to 4.4 kilometres under phase-1 and hope the work of other’ phases may be completed by 2025 February and March”, General Manager, National Highway and Infrastructure Development Corporation Limited (NHIDCL), Col Surajpal Singh Sagwan told PTI.
The NHIDCL, a company under the Ministry of Roads and Highways, is executing the Jammu-Akhnoor road widening project costing Rs 1,345 crores, which has been divided into four Packages.
The flyover under Package II has been fully functional and more than 72 per cent of work on the 20-kilometre-long stretch under Package III has been completed, Package I work on a 0.8 km long stretch from Bhagwati Nagar Chowk (4th Tawi Bridge) to Canal Head in Jammu city is also under progress.
“The work was assigned during 2018 but, got started in 2019. Earlier the work was delayed due to the abrogation of Article 370 in 2019 as the state was converted to UT the work was delayed due to a lack of materials and land acquisition. It was further delayed in 2020 due to the Covid-19 pandemic and land acquisition and other issues where many houses and structures had to be demolished”, GM said.
People hope that company will meet the deadline and make this fully stretch operational. They say that several patches of the road are in very bad shape due to a delay in ongoing work.
Sandeep Khajuria, a local resident, said that the project should be completed within the time frame.
“We also want express highway should be made but within the time given to us by the Government. Akhnoor highway was supposed to be made this year but it’s not completed yet. We have to face a lot of problems due to this but we are waiting for good things to happen soon”, he said.
Another local resident Ratan Langhe said that this road touches the border and this road is important for people especially patients while shifting them from Akhnoor, Poonch, Rajouri etc. “It is very important for our border security”, he said
Once completed, the highway will cut travel time between Jammu and Akhnoor by half.