NH status to Mughal Road

Only a few days back, through these very columns, we had espoused in detail, the cause of promoting tourism in the Pir Panchal Range of Jammu and Kashmir and had underlined the importance of numerous destinations for the potential of tourism and about the Mughal Road falling in this picturesque range.
It is a matter of great satisfaction that the Central Government has, in principle, agreed to accord National Highway status to Mughal Road connecting Jammu and Kashmir divisions through PirPanchal Range. This comes close on the heels of a marathon meeting of officers held on May 2 with Union Minister for Road Transport and Highways NitinGadkari  and Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti. Both the leaders jointly presided over the meeting. Minister for Public Works and Culture NaeemAkhtar too was present in the meeting.
This road gained prominence when a project named as “Mughal Road” was taken up in 1979 by the then Chief Minister Sheikh Abdullah with basic intent to improve the economy of Rajouri and Poonch districts but it got lost in the red tape and particularly due to objections from some NGOs and State Wild Life Department. Since the construction of the road had to pass through Heerpur Sanctuary, the prime objection was that it would affect gravely the habitat of the wild animals. However, Supreme Court gave conditional permission for the construction and the actual work on the project started in the year 2005 .
The construction was completed in 2008 and regular plying of vehicles on it started from 2010.
It may be recalled that a Mughal Road car rally, the first of its kind,  was organized to promote tourism including adventure tourism in the year 2010. And now the decision to accord it the NH status would bestow upon it, recognition across the country as also ensure its maintenance to make it not a fair weather road but an alternate route to reach Srinagar. Not only this, Union Ministry for Road Transport and Highways has also decided to put the construction of Vailoo – Singhpura and Chenani – Sudhmahadev tunnels projects on the fast track mode to start the work with requisite speed.
It is heartening for the State of Jammu and Kashmir that the Central Government is keen in respect of accelerating the speed of work as the process of formulation of reports for the projects has already been started and the consultancy report too received and the work is supposed to start the moment snow on some of the roads started melting. We urge the Union Government to continue with the follow-up and periodic monitoring of these projects so that they are completed without unnecessary brakes and humps. These tunnels are meant to connect people more closely and in the words of Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti  “taking these tunnel projects in mission mode as a national priority”.
With according NH status to Mughal Road, we reiterate, the State tourism is expected to get a fillip and tourist spots like Chatta Pani, Noori Chamb, Chandhimar, Poshana, Peer Ki Gali, Dubjan, Heerpur  etc. shall come into prominence. Home and foreign tourists, holiday makers, trekkers can have and pass nice time of enjoying natural beauty.
However, other roads which could ensure more connectivity on inter regional basis too are reported to have been discussed between the Chief Minister and the Union Minister. The Union Minister has directed the concerned agencies to use the latest technology and soil stabilizing tests in respect of the project to ensure completion not only well in time but at the earliest. This demonstrates the commitment of the Central Government towards the development of infrastructure of the State which we note with satisfaction.