Up-gradation of five National Highways

While Union Ministry of Road Transport and Highways has been doing a commendable job both by way of covering more length of roads and the speed of work on them, the same is not visible in the Union Territories of Jammu and Kashmir and Ladakh. There could be several reasons but evidently National Highway Infrastructure Development Corporation Limited (NHIDCL) , Border Roads Organisation (BRO) and National Highway Authority (NHAI) are apparently not showing keenness in the speedy completion of the project. The fact of the matter is that announcement for the same was made by the Union Ministry nearly over four years back, say in the year 2015. The same circle of preparing detailed Project Reports, clearances from concerned agencies, approvals and the like is moving aimlessly without any cogent results . It has, therefore, stalled the up-gradation process of five out of the eight National highways which were approved.
It is a known fact that these two Union Territories assume strategic importance both in terms of defence requirements and infrastructure movement as also for promoting tourism which is the backbone of the state economy. We cannot derive solace and satisfaction that only the Highways currently developed in the areas are enough unless border towns and backward areas as also pilgrim areas were duly connected by means of improving , standardising and up-grading the roads connecting them. What hitch was there in not speeding up the project even after it was announced that these National Highways would be developed under Prime Minister’s Development Package (PMDP) which means that the cost of up-gradation would be met entirely by the concerned Union Ministry.?
Why the work has not started during four long years is seemingly neither bothering the agencies aforementioned nor anyone in the administration so that at least it could be learnt as to by which date the much awaited up-gradation process would be completed or the timeframe specified , even tentatively. If we start bisecting the entire structure of planning of these roads , it would be a lengthy job but Leh – Upsi Sarchu 250 kms long road up-gradation was assigned to Border Roads Organisation which otherwise has been enjoying reputation for its quality and speed in work but in the instant case, it is stuck up at Detailed Project Report only which is being “prepared” but not completed. In the same way, NHIDCL was assigned the same type of job in respect of 274km long NH 244 Chenani -Khanabal via Kishtwar which was announced under the PM Development Package , has also the same problem which continues to haunt the work . The same is true of Baramulla to Gulmarg, Baramulla Rafiabad and Kupwara – Tarnah and other sectors where in absence of proper DPRs, the work is not started.
Kargil- Zanaskar 234 long National Highway, though is one third complete , some requisite paper work not completed is hampering the rest of the job. Take the case of Jammu-Akhnoor – Nowshera-Rajouri – Poonch National Highway though some work has been done but widening process is held up. In short, the overall scenario is not encouraging at all which demands a serious review of the level of progress on the important project of up-gradation of these vital National Highways so that wherever bottlenecks mainly due to non completion of project reports are there must be resolved as any more delay would mean added and escalated cost factor which must be avoided.