JAMMU, Jan 24: Stating that roads are lifeline for economy, Minister for Public Works and Parliamentary Affairs, Abdul Rehman Veeri today said that in a landmark achievement, 542 proposals worth Rs 2842.32 crore have been sanctioned under PMGSY, which would link 595 un-connected habitations by way of construction of 2732 km of roads across the State, besides 2 ring roads costing Rs 4000 crore covering 118 kms have been approved for capital cities of Srinagar and Jammu.
Winding up the discussion on Demand of Grants for Public Works and Parliamentary Affairs Departments, the Minister said that out of 542 works sanctioned, tenders have been invited for 521 schemes while as 335 have been allotted so far besides work on 147 projects has already started.
“Department is proposing Batch II of Phase X to MoRD GoI for approval. This will include all unconnected habitations as well as up-gradation schemes per constituency,” he said, adding “during 2015-16 the State received highest ever sanction of Rs 758.56 crore for 25 road and bridge projects from Central Government and for the first time 9 works from Leh and Kargil have also been included for Rs 105 crore”.
He informed that another programme initiated in the State includes 427 new connectivity works (303 works of Stage I and 124 works of Stage II) approved at Rs 1954 crore, besides approval of 29 bridges. For the first time, 86 schemes (nearly 787 kms of road length) have been proposed to be upgraded at a cost of Rs 837 crore. He further said that matter was taken up at highest level for declaration of Mughal Road and Lakhanpur Basohli Bani Bhaderwah Pul Doda roads as new National Highways.
In addition to these, strong efforts for Mughal Road tunnel, Chattergala tunnel and other tunnels such as Sadhna, Razdan etc are being made with Central Government. In addition to these highways, Union Ministry of Road Transport and Highways (MoRTH) has accorded in-principle approval for declaring two roads namely Dingaamb-Challa-Udhampur road and Lakhanpur-Mahanpur-Basohli-Dunera road as National Highways.
On the status regarding some major roads of the State, the Minister said that DPR consultancies for Kargil and Shopian-Qazigund are at an advanced stage, DPR work on Jammu Akhnoor is in progress and DPR work for Akhnoor-Poonch will be allotted soon. The Minister said that two ring roads for Jammu and Srinagar have been approved that will cover 118 kms in two divisions at a cost of Rs 4000 crore. He said that in order to speed up the process of construction of ring roads, task forces have been constituted under the chairmanship of respective Divisional Commissioners for early finalization of land and acquisition process.
Stating that maintenance of National Highway-244 (Batote Kishtwar road) has been cause of concern for Government, the Minister said that after concerted efforts of State Government, special maintenance package of over Rs 95 cr has been sanctioned by MoRTH for the road and work has been started on ground.
He also said that DPR work for realigned portion of Batote-Kishtwar-Simthan-Khanabal (Chenani-Sudhmahadev-Goha-Khellani including 3.5 kms long tunnel at Goha) road has also been allotted. “A study on unstable hill slopes has projected the cost of slope stability at an amount of Rs 145 crore and part of this will be taken under World Bank project. The DPRs are also under preparation for three avalanche prone sites on Mughal Road,” he said.
Regarding the up-gradation of roads in cities and towns, the Minister said that 3124.72 kms have been macadamised in last two financial years at cost of Rs 1100 crore after massive programme of resurfacing was launched in wake of 2014 September floods.
Regarding the quality check of roads, he said that Road Safety Audit Cell has been established in Directorate of Design, Inspections & Quality Control (DIQC) as the nodal agency in the State for engineering aspects of road safety. The agency is also tasked to vet the projects for road safety purposes as per the National Standard of Indian Road Congress (IRC) as envisaged and also undertaken safety audit of existing roads and ongoing/existing bridges/ flyovers.
The Minister also gave the overall view of the strength of the manpower in the department.