Guv hails Centre’s support in completing projects
State Times News JAMMU: Union Minister Nitin Gadkari on Tuesday inaugurated a bridge over Ravi River which will reduce the distance between Kathua in Jammu and Pathankot in Punjab to 8.6 km from 45 km, the government said. On the occasion, Governor Satyapal Malik, MOS PMO Dr Jitendra Singh, Advisor to Governor K.K. Sharma and Chief Secretary B.V.R Subrahmanyam were also present. The bridge over the Ravi at Keerian – Gandial will benefit over 2.2 lakh people living on the two sides. It has been constructed at a cost of Rs 158.84 crore to improve inter-state connectivity, the Road Transport and Highways said in a statement. While dedicating the bridge to the Nation, Gadkari said that Prime Minister Narendra Modi-led government had set a new mark in timely delivery of public goods by completing various projects on or before time. The road transport and highways minister said that the government was focused on providing corruption-free and transparent governance to the people without compromising quality. Giving details about the ongoing highways projects in Jammu & Kashmir, Gadkari said that the NH network in the State has seen an increase of 969 km in the last four years. The total length of NHs in the State was 1,695 km in 2014, which has gone up to 2,664 km in 2018. The number of NHs has also gone up from seven to 14 in the same period. New NHs of 969 km were announced during the period. In addition, four State roads of 400 km have also been approved. He said his ministry is executing 16 projects worth Rs 45,107 crore through NHAI, NHIDCL, State PWD and BRO under the Prime Minister’s special development package (PMDP) for J&K. Of these, works worth Rs 30,000 crore have already started, the statement said adding, NHAI is executing eight projects worth Rs 14,987 crore, NHIDCL/BRO – six projects costing Rs 24,120 crore, and PWD – two projects for Rs 6,000 crore.
The Union Minister further said that two major road corridors were being built in J&K- Jammu-Srinagar and Srinagar-Leh. The Chenani-Nashri Tunnel Road under the first was the largest highway tunnel in the country that had resulted in reducing the travel time between Jammu and Srinagar by two and a half hours, while the distance between the two had come down by 30 kms. He added that the tunnel was benefitting people by way of making travel possible throughout the year and saving of upto Rs 27 lakh worth fuel on the route.
The Minister also made a mention of the Zojila Tunnel for connecting Srinagar with Leh that would be Asia’s longest 14.2 km long two-lane tunnel that would prove to be a milestone all weather roads in the forward region. This strategically important tunnel would drastically reduce the travel time from three and a half hours to just 15 minutes. He further informed the audience that about 26 per cent work of Rs 6,808 crore Z-turn tunnel and approach road on NH-1 has been completed on Srinagar-Leh Corridor.
Giving a detail about the Ring Road project in the State, Gadkari said that a 62-km long 4-lane ring road was being constructed in the Srinagar city at the cost of Rs 1,860 crore that starts from Ganderbal on NH-44 and ends at Vayul on NH-1D. He informed that the road would connect 54 villages in six districts. He further informed that about 25 per cent work on the 58.255 km 4-lane Jammu Ring Road had been completed. The total cost of the project was Rs 1,891 crore and it would involve construction of eight major bridges, 22 minor bridges, six flyovers, and two tunnels of 770 meters and 710 meters respectively.
While addressing the audience, Governor, Jammu & Kashmir Sayta Pal Malik said that through Centre’s support it was being assured that no projects are left incomplete in the State and that people are able to take the benefit of these projects.
Governor thanked Gadkari for his intervention in the revival of Shahpur- Kandi project which will significantly enhance the irrigation potential of the State.
Governor observed that to give boost to developmental activities and to complete the languishing projects across the State, Jammu and Kashmir Infrastructure Development Finance Corporation (JKIDFC), has been established with an authorisation to raise loans up to Rs. 8000 crore.
Dr Jitendra Singh in his address said that the completion of various infrastructure projects in the State was a manifestation of the slogan of ‘Sankalp Se Siddhi’ given by Prime Minister Narendra Modi. He said that through the completion of the developmental projects in the State, J&K had become a part of the development journey of the Nation that is to continue in the years to come. He informed the audience that the bridge been constructed at a cost much lower to the estimated cost leading to a saving of Rs 16 crore and the project has been completed ahead of time. He mentioned about the various projects that have been completed or are in the pipeline in Kathua like first Highway Mart in the State, Medical College, Bio-Tech Park and Passport Office all of which were completed in last five years.
He said that Rs. 158.84 crore is spent not to connect just two Panchayats of Keerian and Gandial of Kathua district but this bridge will prove as an alternate inter-state connectivity between J&K and Punjab thus decongesting the traffic on Jammu-Pathankot NH to a great extent besides giving a boost to the social as well as economical development of the people living in the adjoining areas.
The 30 Km distance between Kathua and Gandial was covered in an hour earlier but after the construction of this bridge the distance was reduced to 8 Km and it now take only 10 minutes to reach Gandial from Kathua, Singh added.
Sanjeev Verma, Divisional Commissioner Jammu; Rohit Khajuria, Deputy Commissioner Kathua and many senior civil and police officers were among those present on the occasion.
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