Jakh-Kunjwani Expressway

Jammu and Kashmir is largely dependent on road connectivity not only between capital cities of Jammu and Srinagar but between villages and towns in both the regions especially in transporting merchandise of all hues. It hardly needs to be reiterated that the utility and the role of the road infrastructure in guiding and promoting economic development is an admitted fact and being a strong pillar for the economy of the UT of Jammu and Kashmir. More roads, developed roads and modern patterned roads are becoming the way to progress and prosperity especially when we look at the tourism sector playing a crucial role for the economy of Jammu and Kashmir and the same bestowed with a vast scope of promoting for which a network of better and more connectivity is too important to be ignored.
On the other hand , the turnover of increasing traffic keeps on demanding improvements in the existing road structure like widening of roads, be it making most of them four lanes etc , construction of new roads , bettering inner connectivity and upgrading of roads into express ways including making new ones. Only a few days back , the work on the project of construction of Akhnoor- Poonch National Highway was given a big push in respect of widening , providing two lanes system with paved shoulder etc by granting a financial support of Rs.563 crore and releasing it too thus paving the way for connecting various villages along the Highway. In other words, the thrust on road connectivity was not only between towns and cities but connecting various villages to facilitate mobility of the people and transportation of agricultural and other products quite easily and with speed.
The latest development about improving and adding into the connectivity network is approval of Jakh -Kunjwani sections of National Highway-44 costing a whopping amount of Rs.1918 crore under the scheme of Bharatmala Pariyojana in the UT of Jammu and Kashmir . Such construction is going to be on Hybrid Annuity Mode (HAM) which was promoted for implementation by Nitin Gadkari the Union Transport Minister . Basic aim of designing this mode was to revive investments in road infrastructure in the country as in the absence of massive investments where private players play a very important role as annual union budgetary allocations having their own constraints and limitations cannot singularly ensure as fast a road construction process as we have been seeing. Needless to add, in that case Jammu and Kashmir in respect of Katra-Amritsar- Delhi grand Expressway being a major project coupled with other projects like the one under reference, are quite noteworthy . Again pertinent to mention , more than half of nearly 2000 kilometre Road Projects currently stand awarded under the HAM . Expenditures are decided , under the mode, including the release of instalments on proportionate basis.
Jammu and Kashmir otherwise embarking upon promoting massive private investments is encouraging to the extent of a good response although road constructions especially in the villages of the UT is going on under PMGSY. The project under reference, however, was going to connect and develop Kunjwani to 4th Tawi bridge and even Jammu Airport will get better connectivity once it was completed and it is what the Union Transport Minister too has strongly hoped. It may be noted that the Highway is to made into a 6 lane Expressway to become a part of Delhi -Amritsar-Katra Expressway thus ensuring a big step taken towards better connectivity and the economic progress of the entire belt.
Expressways , in particular, have added utility in that they play their unique role in connecting the regional and the national economy together and promoting it in various ways. Critical supply chains and logistics get vastly improved benefitting trade and commerce hence generating ample opportunities of employment . Not only that, high speed which is the criteria behind coupled with comforts of driving with greater safety are a few major added advantages of Expressways and connecting other roads or making them part of the grand project. Vehicle operating costs are also reduced as a result of uninterrupted driving , smoothness and space of roads where chances of traffic jams are rare. For approving the Jakh -Kunjwani section of the grand Expressway , Lieutenant Governor Manoj Sinha has expressed ”gratitude” to the Prime Minister and the Union Transport Minister.