Embarrassment for DyCM over Bhaderwah-Chamba road issue

Gopal Sharma

JAMMU, Jan 17: Deputy Chief Minister Dr Nirmal Singh had to face embarrassment in the Upper House of the J&K Legislature today on the contradictory statement of the Minister for R&B Abdul Rehman Veeri  from PDP, who said that whatever he was saying on the floor of the House was factually correct , while the opposition Congress members trained guns at the DyCM telling that he has given misleading information in a section of  Press  by issuing incorrect  information on Bhaderwah-Chamba road.
The DyCM had to face the heat in the Upper House today when the Congress member from Bhaderwah,  Naresh Gupta pointed out that  Dr Singh, in a statement in a section of press few months back,  had mentioned about his meeting with Union Road Transport  and Highways  Minister Nitin Gadkari and also stated that Bhaderwah-Chamba road has been approved as National Highway. “But now, R&B Minister  Abdul Rehman  Veeri  is replying in negative and stating that Union Road Transport and Highways Ministry has approved in-principle declaration of `Lakhanpur-Mahanpur-Basohli-Dunera’ (Pb)  as new National Highway.”
The Congress member asked the Chairman Legislative Council that Government should clear its stand. “Who was telling the truth?  DyCM or Abdul Rehman Veeri.”
He also produced a newspaper in the House with the view of DyCM and demanded that the truth should be made known to the House and people of this State.
The R&B Minister then stood up and declared that he was not aware about what transpired between  Gadkari and Dr Nirmal Singh but whatever he was telling on the floor of the House was factually correct. He said that Bhaderwah- Chamba road has not been approved as National Highway by the Union Government.
Upon this Opposition Congress and NC  members  including Naresh Gupta, Jugal Kishore, Ghulam Nabi Monga, Sham Lal Bhagat, Sajjad Kichloo, Qaiser Jamsheed Lone and Dr B A Veeri stood up and trained guns at the DyCM and alleged that he has tried to mislead the people through his statement in the newspaper.  Naresh  asked whether his statement was just for public consumption and befool people  or there were some truth in it. He asked with this what did he (DyCM)  want to prove?  He asked the Chairman to take serious note of  the issue.
Upon this, DyCM who was also sitting in the House got agitated and said, ” They have no issue and now they are trying to make issue out of nothing.   They did not do anything during their tenure and now when some body wants to do something , they are trying to pull legs of others.”
DyCM said he had meeting with Union Surface Transport and  Highways Minister over the issue and he had in principle agreed  to declare this road to the status of National Highway. He had taken up some other roads also with Gadkari and this is ongoing process. But the opposition members continued to lodge protest  and alleged that BJP leaders are in habit of taking U-turn on every issue and this has become their habit.  He had  given bold statement in the papers to make headlines but now he has shifted his stand. The chairman should take serious note of it, they pleaded.
R&B Minister then came to the rescue of  Coalition Minister  and said that “we have taken up several roads with the Union Ministry and this is also one of the roads.” They agree in principle  on certain roads but give approval later after taking so much of time. This project is also in the pipeline. He assured the, house to take up this road project afresh with the Union Ministry of  Road  Transport and Highways.
Earlier,  giving reply to the main question of Naresh Gupta, R&B Minister said that during current financial year 2016-17, the R&B department has recommended three projects to the Ministry under Inter-State Connectivity  and their sanction is awaited.
He further disclosed that upgradation of Bhaderwah-Chamba road 8th Km-Km 50th up to Chamba border has been taken up for execution under Inter-State Connectivity at the cost of Rs 73.33 cr  and Rs 70.32 crore  has been spent on it so far and the road has been completed and blacktopped.
Responding to another question, Veeri said DPR for the construction of road from Km 82 of Basohli-Bani-Bhaderwah and to Bajootra in HP via Fatehpur Bhander  to double lane specification (length 40 Km) at an estimated cost of Rs 197.59 crore, has been recommended to the Ministry of Road Transport and Highways for approval and funding  under Inter-State Connectivity sector.
Referring to the tunnel at Chhatargalla on this road, Veeri said the pre-feasibility report for construction of tunnel at Chhatergalla has been submitted by BRO to the headquarters DG Border Roads. The proposal is not approved yet. He assured the member to expedite the tunnel work  and follow the project seriously.