NEW DELHI, Sept 6: Union Minister of State (Independent Charge) Science & Technology; Minister of State (Independent Charge) Earth Sciences; MoS PMO, Personnel, Public Grievances, Pensions, Atomic Energy and Space, Dr Jitendra Singh today reviewed the progress of Highway and Road projects of Jammu and Kashmir with Managing Director of NHIDCL (National Highways and Infrastructure Development Corporation Limited) K.K.Pathak and asked him to expedite the pending projects on war footing.
Pathak assured the Minister that all the ongoing projects would be completed in a time bound manner, though some work got hampered due to COVID and timelines had to be increased.
Dr Jitendra Singh said, Prime Minister Narendra Modi allocated more than ?1,08,621 crore budget for Jammu and Kashmir, which is the highest ever budget for J&K. He said, it will help in rebuilding the economy, create jobs and will usher in all-round development for the new UT. The Minister underlined that after August 5, 2019, there is a visible change in every field, whether related to unfinished projects, implementation of centrally sponsored schemes, infrastructure development and security situation in Jammu and Kashmir.
MD, NHIDCL, Pathak informed Dr Jitendra Singh that work on most of the 17 Highways Project with sanctioned cost of over Rs15,385 Crore is going on smoothly. Out of 17 approved projects, 12 are in Jammu region, while 5 are in Kashmir region.
Dr Jitendra Singh noted that out of 12 such projects, 6 major ones are in his Lok Sabha constituency of Udhampur-Kathua-Doda. These include Chenani-Sudhmahadev Road, Goha-Khellani Package 1 and 2, Goha-Khellani Package 3 that is Khellani Tunnel and Khillani-Khanabal package-2.
The Minister said that out of 6 Prospective Projects to be awarded in near future, 5 are in the Jammu region and here also Sudhmahadev-Daranga Tunnel package 1 and 2 fall in his Parliamentary Constituency.
Earlier, in March this year, Dr Jitendra Singh had met Union Minister for Road Transport & Highways (MoRTH), Nitin Gadkari for allocation of funds to enable timely completion of the proposed Chattergala tunnel which will connect district Kathua with district Doda in Jammu & Kashmir, enroute the new Highway via Basohli-Bani through Chattergalla to touch Bhaderwah and Doda. This is going to be a historic landmark project providing all-weather alternate road connectivity between the two distant regions and reducing the travel time from Doda to Lakhanpur to just around four hours.