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Difficult terrain hits pace of work on Ramban-Banihal four-laning

Satisfactory progress on other stretches

Nishikant Khajuria
JAMMU, Apr 20:  Even as ongoing four-laning work on remaining portions of Jammu-Srinagar National Highway is going on with satisfactory pace, the construction agency is facing extreme challenge in executing operations on Ramban-Banihal stretch because of the difficult terrain where the scheduled completion of work is all set to get delayed.
Due to difficult terrain and less working space, only five percent of work has been executed in more than a year on Ramban-Banihal project, for which the National Highway Authority of India has set May 2019 as the deadline for completion of entire work.
“Since the work is in initial stage, nothing can be said on its time of completion but it is undoubtedly slow and finishing is going to get delayed,” official sources informed the Excelsior.
Four laning from Ramban to Banihal section will comprise two bypasses (Seri and Makerkot), six major and 21 minor bridges, 152 culverts, seven pedestrian/cattle underpasses and six tunnels with total length of 2967.50 meters.
HCC has been allotted the job work for this stretch and total project cost of  four-laning from Ramban to Banihal  (Kms 151 to 187) is Rs 2168 crores, including civil cost Rs 1783.42 crores
However, on the other hand, work on the Udhampur-Ramban (Udhampur to Chenani and Nashri to Ramban) four-laning project is going on with satisfactory pace and till date, more than 17 percent work has been executed.
“Approximately 50 percent earth cutting and filling work has been completed while foundation of minor as well major bridges are also being laid and this will be followed by start of work on superstructure of these bridges by the end of next month after which the progress would be more visible on ground,” informed Atar De, Project Director of the NHAI, who is looking after the work on Udhampur-Ramban stretch.
Elaborating further, he said that work was going on almost entire stretch, except the area falling in seven villages near Ramban, where there were some legal issues regarding compensation to the people. After the High Court verdict, the compensation issue is also being resolved by the concerned authorities and work on this 5.5 km long stretch is also likely to start soon while the issue of dumping has also been resolved in consultation with the Department of Forest and Environment, he added.
December 2018 is the scheduled date of completion of four-laning of Udhampur to Chenani and Nashri to Ramban stretches while the NHAI is confident of meeting the deadline, the Project Director said.
Gammon India Ltd is the construction company for four-laning of  Udhampur-Ramban (Udhampur to Chenani and Nashri to Ramban) four-laning project, the cost of which is Rs 2136.97 crores ( civil cost Rs 1709.99 crores).
Four-laning from Udhampur to Chenani (Km 67.00 to Km 89.00) and Nashri to Ramban (Km 130 to Km 151.00) will comprise one bypass (Ramban bypass), five major and 29 minor bridges, 259 culverts, one rotary, six U-turn, 11 Junctions, eight bus/truck lay byes and a  888-meter long tunnel for Northbound CW at Chanderkot.
Pertinent to mention that widening of Udhampur-Ramban and Ramban to Banihal stretches is part of the NHAI’s flagship project of four-laning Jammu-Srinagar National Highway. The NHAI has divided the Jammu-Srinagar National Highway four-laning project into sub-projects, which include widening of Srinagar-Banihal road (67.7 kms), Qazigund-Banihal road (15.25 kms), Ramban-Banihal road (36 kms), Udhampur-Ramban road (43 kms) and widening of Jammu-Udhampur road (65 kms). The stretch between Udhampur-Ramban has been further divided into Udhampur-Chenani road, Chenani-Nashri tunnel (12 kms) and Nashri-Ramban road.
While Jammu-Udhampur stretch was thrown open for vehicular traffic three years ago,   Chenani-Nashri tunnel was inaugurated by Prime Minister Narendra Modi this month.
According to Ghulam Qadir, NHAI Project Director for Ramban to Srinagar stretch of the Highway, around 70 percent work has been completed on Qazigund-Banihal stretch, which includes two tunnels, each 8.5 km long. The ongoing excavation work on these tunnels will be finished by ending of September this year while March 2018 is deadline for completion of the entire work.
Similarly, more than 70 percent work has also been completed on Qazigund-Srinagar road, which is likely to be thrown open by September 2017 even as two flyovers connecting its ends will be ready by next year.

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