Srinagar Ring Road Project

Projects are meant for development and providing benefits and comforts to people and, therefore, it is in the fitness of things that irrespective of the hype , puffery and publicity accorded to them they need to be completed in time to be put to use. We , however, have developed such a system where most of such projects inaugurated even by VIPs, rarely take off as scheduled and without any hassles. What about a project , very ambitious by its nature and purpose , especially which is inaugurated by the country’s Prime Minister and, therefore, expected to be started and completed as per the proposed plan, instead plunges into the cobweb of uncertainties and probabilities? This is all about the Ring Road Project in Srinagar which even after the passage of more than a year, is yet to be started.
We do not mince any words that usually when it comes to widening and expanding of roads or going ahead with similar ambitious plans, the greatest and immediate obstacles coming in the way is generally about the difficulties in acquiring land required for these projects. Either the revenue records are incomplete, or no proper mutation to claim the proper legal title and without encumbrance or there is resistance from the owners to part with such land usually because of the settlement of cost factor. In the instant case, the speed with which the required land should have been acquired is far from being satisfactory which puts a question mark on the probabilities of when the work would actually be started.
It is usually the trend of the market rates in respect of the land required for such purposes that delay in the process of acquiring means more compensation as cost of land to the owners and the same has happened in the instant case also. In other words, it means additional cost of the project than originally envisaged because of the delay factor. Experts opine that should any such project be embarked upon, at least 90 per cent land acquiring is a must which has not so far been possible in this ambitious project hence a type of uncertainty exists. That precisely is what the State Administration should look into and address so that start could be seen from somewhere. Should the administration engage itself in the most challenging job of land acquisition only when it is assured of additional funds in its kitty to meet the escalated cost of the land,is perhaps the stage this project has reached as the project on date, has developed cost escalation of Rs.13.50 crore only in respect of land acquiring.
Needless to add, for construction of semi ring roads in the twin capital cities of the State, nearly 12500 Kanals of land was required and the major portion say, nearly 11000 kanals were going to be agricultural land. If the State Government has in mind to give practical shape to these long term projects, cost liabilities on annual basis needed to be built up duly budgeted instead of at the actual time of acquiring in one go which becomes untenable. Besides, the acquiring process should include all necessary , revenue and legal papers complete in all forms to avoid delays. A comprehensive approach with professional touch was needed in the Ring Road projects.
National Highways Authority of India (NHAI) is , therefore, entirely looking to the response from the Government and we feel any further delay would only add into the cost of project which needs to be kept to the minimum if the same was difficult to be totally avoided.The Government needs to take a call in the matter so that the prestigious project gets started at the earliest.