Gadkari calls high-level meeting in Srinagar on June 17

Gadkari calls high-level meeting in Srinagar on June 17
Gadkari calls high-level meeting in Srinagar on June 17

Yatra projects, work on NHs, roads to be reviewed
Dr Jitendra, Sinha, top officials of Ministry, UT to attend

Sanjeev Pargal

JAMMU, June 15: Union Minister for Road, Transport and Highways Nitin Gadkari has called a high-level meeting in Srinagar on June 17 to review progress on various projects of national and strategic importance besides Shri Amarnath Yatra track and Jammu-Srinagar National Highway to ensure smooth annual pilgrimage starting June 29 and lasting 52 days till August 19.
This will be Gadkari’s first meeting in Jammu and Kashmir after taking over charge of Road, Transport and Highways Ministry in Narendra Modi 3.0 Government.
Union Minister of State in the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) Dr Jitendra Singh, Lieutenant Governor Manoj Sinha and senior officers of Highways Ministry and Jammu and Kashmir Government will attend the meeting, official sources told the Excelsior.
A number of National Highways, tunnels, roads and other projects which have significant importance for Jammu and Kashmir as well as nation are being executed in the Union Territory. Similarly, various strategic and development projects including Zojila tunnel are under construction in the UT of Ladakh. Zojila tunnel will link Ladakh by road with Jammu and Kashmir and rest of the country throughout the year as presently Srinagar-Leh National Highway is closed for few months of the winter due to snowfall.

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The Central Government proposed to construct National Highway on Shri Amarnath Ji yatra track from both Baltal as well as Pahalgam base camps. The proposal is expected to be discussed in the meeting. For the current year, the tracks have been widened for smooth journey of the pilgrims. Construction of the National Highway when completed will give great convenience to the pilgrims. However, as per the sources, its construction is expected to take time due to very limited working season.
Widening work on the tracks and covering surface with blocks besides attending curves and slopes has been done by the Border Roads Organization (BRO), the sources said. Laying roadside railing and sidewalls at vulnerable locations especially in the areas prone to shooting stones from the hillocks to keep the pilgrims safe, has also been done.
Ramban-Banihal stretch has also been a problematic zone on Jammu-Srinagar National Highway especially during the rainy season. Most part of Shri Amarnath Ji pilgrimage will fall during Monsoon.
Sources said the National Highway has to be kept through for smooth journey of Shri Amarnath Ji pilgrims especially during the rains.
Progress of work on other National Highways, Ring Roads and major projects will also be reviewed by the Union Minister for Roads and Highways, the sources said, adding that projects worth over Rs one lakh crore of the Highways Ministry are under execution in Jammu and Kashmir which will strongly boost the connectivity for locals and encourage tourists.
Senior officers of J&K administration including Chief Secretary Atal Dulloo and those dealing with Works Department will give detailed view of the progress on various road construction projects in Jammu and Kashmir.
In Ladakh, the BRO is working on Nimu-Padam-Darcha road (in the Union Territory of Ladakh) which will connect Manali to Leh through Darcha and Nimmu on Srinagar-Kargil-Leh National Highway, providing a third axis (apart from Manali-Leh and Srinagar-Leh which connects Ladakh to the hinterland).
Work on Zojila tunnel is also expected to come up for a review in Gadkari’s meeting. Construction of Zojila tunnel has been very significant as it will link strategic Ladakh throughout the year by road with Jammu and Kashmir and rest of the country.