Gadkari releases Rs 1973 cr for Kashmir NH; will visit J&K, Ladakh on Apr 10-11

Minister to inspect work at Zojila, Banihal
*Work to start on more highways shortly

Sanjeev Pargal
JAMMU, Mar 25: Ahead of his two-day visit to Jammu and Kashmir in April, Union Minister for Road, Transport and National Highways Nitin Gadkari has approved Rs 1973 crore for Srinagar-Baramulla-Uri National Highway works.
Gadkari is scheduled to visit the Union Territories of Jammu and Kashmir and Ladakh on April 10 and 11, official sources told the Excelsior.
Ahead of his visit, the Road and Highways Minister has released Rs 992.43 crore for paved shoulders on two-lane Baramulla Greenfield Bypass on Srinagar-Baramulla-Uri National Highway. He also released Rs 980.21 crore for Pattan Greenfield Bypass on Srinagar-Baramulla-Uri National Highway 01.
He will visit Zojila tunnel being constructed on Srinagar-Kargil National Highway and inspect the ongoing work on April 10. Deadline fixed for construction of the tunnel is 2026 but there are indications that it might be completed ahead of the timeline.
Construction of Zojila tunnel will link the Union Territory of Ladakh by road for full year. Presently, the Srinagar-Kargil-Leh National Highway has to be closed for nearly three to four months of winter due to snowfall around Zojila.
However, construction of the tunnel will facilitate movement of traffic to Ladakh throughout the year which will not only help local people of the Union Territory and tourists but will also serve as boon for troops deployed in Eastern Ladakh and other areas along Line of Actual Control (LAC) with China and Line of Control (LoC) with Pakistan as their movement and supplies will not be interrupted.
On April 11, Gadkari accompanied by Union Minister of State in the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) Dr Jitendra Singh will visit Ramban and Banihal and inspect progress on ongoing work along Jammu-Srinagar National Highway where recently T5 tunnel was thrown open for traffic reducing congestion in Panthyal area.
Remaining work on widening of Jammu-Srinagar National Highway is likely to be completed shortly after which distance between Jammu and Srinagar will be reduced to four or five hours.
Gadkari is likely to announce launch of work on more highways and roads in Jammu and Kashmir during his two-day visit. He is also expected to inaugurate some works which have been completed.
Rs one lakh crore worth National Highways and tunnels are under construction in Jammu and Kashmir and many of them are nearing completion.
Work is also apace on Jammu-Akhnoor highway and a Flyover was thrown open for traffic last year. Work has also been extended up to Rajouri and Poonch.
A National Highway has also been sanctioned for Suchetgarh International Border from Vikram Chowk and Satwari which will give boost to border tourism.
National Highway Infrastructure Development Corporation Limited (NHIDCL) is also ready with preliminary report on construction of road project connecting holy cave shrine of Shri Amarnath Ji from Pahalgam-Panjtarni-SangamTop-Baltal and the project could be approved this year itself and completed in next four to five years.
The Government of India’s NHIDCL has completed preliminary report on construction of Pahalgam road to Panjtarni, Sangam Top and Baltal connecting holy cave shrine of Shri Amarnath Ji, (located at the height of 13,000 feet from sea level). The project is expected to be approved this year and construction will be completed in next 4-5 years.
Once the road is built, pilgrims from across the country and Jammu and Kashmir will be able to visit and pay obeisance at the cave shrine in the south Kashmir Himalayas.
Meanwhile, Union Minister of State in the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) Dr Jitendra Singh will also review construction of Delhi-Katra Expressway from Udhampur to Katra tomorrow, at Hiranagar.
Sources said the National Highways Authority of India (NHAI) has agreed that wherever feasible alignment of the Expressway will kept in such a way that shopkeepers and commercial establishment owners don’t suffer.
However, at the same time, there will be no compromise with construction of the Expressway.