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NHAI assures Naeem of expediting work on Srinagar-Jammu highway

*Chenani-Nashri tunnel to be commissioned next month, Qazigund-Banihal next year

Excelsior Correspondent
JAMMU, Feb 28: Chairman, National Highways Authority of India (NHAI) Yudhvir Singh Malik called on the Minister for Works, Naeem Akhtar here today to review the progress of upgradation of Srinagar-Jammu National Highway and other key road communication projects in the State.
NHAI Chairman assured Akhtar that the Authority would ensure that the executing agencies stick to the deadline and ensure completion of works on key highway and road projects in time.
The Minister emphasized expediting work on Srinagar-Qazigund stretch, Qazigund-Banihal tunnel, Banihal-Ramban section and Chenani-Nashri tunnel as part of upgradation of Srinagar-Jammu Highway to facilitate hassle-free travel between the two capital cities of the State. He also reviewed the progress of work on Batote-Kishtwar Highway and proposed Ring Roads in Jammu and Srinagar. The Minister sought the intervention of the NHAI Chairman in expediting the work on these projects of vital importance to the State.
Regarding Batote-Kishtwar National Highway, the Minister was informed that the Centre has recently released Rs 100 crores for the upgradation of this highway and it would be completed by December this year.
Regarding Srinagar-Qazigund section of the highway, the Minister was informed by the NHAI authorities that due to the disturbances in the Valley last summer, the work on this important stretch took a big hit. The NHAI Chairman, however, assured the Minister that the work is being expedited on this stretch to complete this year.
Regarding Qazigund-Banihal tunnel, the NHAI Chairman informed the Minister that the 8.5 km long tunnel is at the breakthrough stage and it would be commissioned in 2018.
Regarding upgradation of 36 KM Banihal-Ramban section, the Minister assured the NHAI Chairman that while the State Cabinet has already cleared several dumping sites in the area, more such sites would be cleared soon. The NHAI Chairman directed his regional officers to immediately make the payment for the dumping sites cleared by the State Cabinet and take over the possession at the earliest so that work can be expedited on this important section of the highway.
Regarding Chenani-Nashri tunnel, the Minister was informed that the 9.50 KM long tunnel, which is an engineering marvel, is the final stage of testing and certification. He was further informed that once the testing and certification is complete, the tunnel could be opened anytime in near future.  “If everything goes well, the tunnel could be inaugurated anytime next month,” the meeting was told.
The meeting was informed that NHAI has simultaneously directed the executing agencies for expediting work on widening of National Highway between Udhampur and Chenani.
Regarding new National Highways of Batote-Doda via Sudh Mahadev and Jammu-Akhnoor, the meeting was informed that the Consultants have been asked to submit Detailed Project Report (DPR) within 6 months.
The Minister also sought the status update on three new highways approved for the Kashmir valley including Baramulla-Rafiabad-Kupwara-Tanghdar, which has been named as NH No: 701, Baltal-Panchtarni-Chandanwari-Pahalgam-Batakut-Martand-Khanabal, which has been named as NH No. 501 and Srinagar-Shopian-Qazigund, which will be called as NH No. 444.
He also sought the progress of two new Highways approved in Ladakh region including Kargil-Zanaskar in Kargil district, which has been named as NH No. 301 and Leh-Debring-Mulden in Leh district, which has been named as NH No: 3.
Commissioner Secretary R&B, Rohit Kansal, Member NHAI, Neeraj Verma, Regional Head NHAI, Hemraj and other senior officers of the R&B Department and NHAI were present at the meeting.
Meanwhile, State Government has roped in Rodic Consultants Private Ltd to formulate a comprehensive connectivity plan for Jammu and Kashmir.
This was announced at a meeting of the representatives of Rodic Consultants with the Minister for Works, Naeem Akhtar.
The representatives of Rodic Consultants informed the meeting that the consulting firm specializes in highways, bridges, railways, tunnels and other infrastructure. Besides providing Advisory Services, the Rodic Consultants, have the expertise in Pre-Feasibility and Feasibility Studies, Detailed Engineering, Proof Checking, Value Engineering, Detailed Design, Detailed Project Report preparation, Construction Supervision and Project Management.
The meeting was informed that the Rodic Consultants would prepare a comprehensive mobility report for the State highlighting the requirement for new highways, tunnels, railways, metros and bridges to facilitate hassle-free intra and inter-state transportation.
The Rodic Consultants have been asked to integrate the proposed Connectivity Plan with the Comprehensive Mobility Plan (CMP prepared by the RITES for Jammu and Srinagar cities.

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