NHIDCL to open office in Jammu: Gadkari to Azad

Excelsior Correspondent

JAMMU, Sept 22: Union Minister of Road Transport, Highways and Shipping Nitin Gadkari has assured Leader of Opposition in Rajya Sabha and former Chief Minister of Jammu and Kashmir Ghulam Nabi Azad that National Highway and Infrastructure Development Corporation Limited (NHIDCL) will shortly open a branch in Jammu for speedy development of National Highway-IB stretch (Batote-Kishtwar).
Gadkari announced this in a letter written to Azad.
“The Ministry of Road Surface and Transport had entrusted the Batote-Kishtwar National Highway to the NHIDCL in March 2015. The NHIDCL is in the process of engaging DPR consultants for improving the NH-IB in two lane with paved shoulder carriageway. At present, the road is being maintained by the Public Works Department (PWD), Jammu and Kashmir,” Gadkari said.
Azad had written letter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi in April this year over worsening condition of Jammu-Srinagar and Batote-Kishtwar National Highways and sought immediate improvement in their road conditions. Gadkari has replied to the letter of Azad.
Gadkari told Azad in the letter dated September 10, 2015 that the NHIDCL will shortly open a branch in Jammu for needful development of the National Highway stretch.
Regarding National Highway-IA (Jammu-Srinagar), Gadkari said presently 4-laning work in Jammu-Srinagar section (except for Udhampur-Ramban and Ramban-Banihal sections) of NH-IA is in progress under National Highways Development Project (NHDP) by National Highways Authority of India (NHAI).
“The work was delayed mainly due to delay in land acquisition, utility shifting and forest clearance. The work is targeted to be completed by June 2017. The 4-laning work on Udhampur-Ramban and Ramban-Banihal sections was yet to be awarded by the NHAI,” Gadkari wrote.
In his letter to the Prime Minister on April 24, 2015, Azad had pointed out that people of three and a half districts of Chenab Valley in addition to Udhampur and Reasi districts were dependent on the Jammu-Srinagar National Highway for commuting and transportation of goods and supplies.
“You are aware that the 300-kilometers long Jammu-Srinagar National Highway passing through rugged and challenging terrain is the lifeline of the Kashmir valley ensuring continuous flow of supplies and provisions for 80 lakh people living in Kashmir and Ladakh, besides facilitating the movement of people to and fro Kashmir valley,” Azad had said.
However, Azad had pointed out that after last year’s floods and unprecedented rains, the National Highway has suffered heavy damages but regrettably due attention to its proper upkeep and maintenance is not being paid, which had multiplied woes and miseries of the people of the State.
“The journey on the National Highway has turned highly risky and the rate of road accidents had soared to unusually higher levels. Traffic jams have become order of the day and travelling time has increased manifold on the road,” the former J&K Chief Minister had written in the letter.
Apart from the local people, Azad said the tourism and trade were getting badly affected by ramshackle and rundown condition of the National Highway.
Azad had also noted that much worse was the condition of National Highway (NHIB) from Batote to Doda and Kishtwar.

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