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New Highways to reduce travel time across districts, divisions drastically: CS

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NEW DELHI: Chief Secretary, Dr Arun Kumar Mehta, today exuded hope that in near future the travel time across different Districts and Divisions of J&K would get drastically reduced in the completion of different National Highway projects currently at different stages of execution.

Dr Mehta made these remarks in a meeting with different stakeholders called for reviewing the progress of land acquisition and other issues pertaining to the construction of a number of National Highways across the UT

In addition to the Principal Secretary, PWD the meeting was attended by Principal Secretary, Forest; Principal Secretary, PDD; Divisional Commissioners; Secretary, Revenue; concerned Deputy Commissioners, Director, representatives from NHAI, NHIDCL, BRO, and many other concerned officers.

Speaking on the occasion, the Chief Secretary stressed upon the executing agencies to complete all these road projects providing enhanced connectivity to different regions in a fixed timeframe. He enjoined upon them that the significance of these roads is eminent and deserves all efforts to be made to complete them on time.

He directed the Deputy Commissioners to facilitate the executing agencies in performing their work smoothly. He observed that these highways are directly linked with the economic upliftment of people as trade and commerce would also see growth by the enhanced movement of people. He pointed out that the tourism sector is going to be the biggest gainer by their completion.

Dr Mehta enquired from the executing agencies about the bottlenecks affecting the pace of their work. He instantly passed on directions to the concerned government departments for taking measures to address them. He made out that both the executing agencies and different government departments should work in coordination with each other and hold regular deliberations for resolving issues without wasting time. He asked them to own these significant national projects and show eagerness in seeing them completed well on time. He fixed timelines for each of the road projects for their completion.

The Principal Secretary, PWD, Shailendra Kumar provided details of progress made so far in constructing different National Highways. He also informed the meeting about the nature of issues confronted in the implementation of these projects. He assured the executing agencies of unhindered support from his department and about different steps taken by PWD in coordinated redressal of the pending issues. He also highlighted several guidelines of MORTH for seeking approvals and advised the DCs to observe these while making the land acquisitions for these projects.

It was given in the meeting that the Jammu-Akhnoor Highway would be opened in a phased manner for the ease of the public. It was revealed that in the next 15 days, the  30 km stretch would be opened as per the directions of the Chief Secretary, and by the 15th of May the remaining stretch would be finished reducing the travel time to just about half an hour to reach Akhnoor. The work on the beautification of the Flyover and parking underneath is also going to be taken in hand shortly, as was added in the meeting.

Similarly regarding the Srinagar-Baramulla-Uri Highway, it was apprised that the land acquisition process is going on smoothly and large stretches of land already been compensated. It was also given out that the process of construction of Bye-passes to Pattan, Baramulla, and Uri towns is being expedited with a Fly over near Sangrama town. The Executing agency was told to take work in hand on the stretches handed over to it by the district administration.

Moreover, the Bye-passes for the important towns of Pulwama, Kulgam, and Shopian were also deliberated upon in length for their early completion under the National Highway project of Srinagar-Pulwama-Shopian-Kulgam(NH-444). The travel time by completion of this highway would be half as that taken at present. The extension of this Road to the tourist destinations of Yousmarg-Doodhpathri in district Budgam came also under discussion and its early completion.

Regarding the Katra-Amritsar-Delhi Expressway it was said that the shifting of some religious structures and commercial establishments is in final stage in district Jammu. In addition the Srinagar Ring Road, Akhnoor-Poonch Road were also discussed. The issues faced were sought resolution for and the concerned directed to work earnestly for making these projects end with desired outcomes as laid for each of them.

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