STATE TIMES NEWSNEW DELHI: Union Minister Dr Jitendra Singh disclosed here on Tuesday that the first-of-its-kind Katra-Delhi Express Road Corridor will be ready in three years and is likely to become functional by 2023. This will reduce the road travel time from Katra to Delhi to around six and half hours, and from Jammu to Delhi to just about six hours, he added. After a meeting with Union Minister for Road Transport & Highways Nitin Gadkari, Dr Jitendra Singh said, the 575 Kms long Express Road Corridor will cost over Rs. 35,000 crore and it will connect Katra to Delhi via Amritsar. Enroute, the other important cities that it will touch include Jalandhar, Kapurthala, Ludiana in Punjab and, Kathua and Jammu in J&K. Pertinent to mention that Dr Jitendra, who is Member of Parliament (Lok Sabha) representing Katra Vaishno Devi, had been pursuing this project since 2015 and had for the first time about three and half years ago announced during a programme at Katra that he had submitted a proposal to this effect which had been accepted by the Minister for Road Transport & Highways Nitin Gadkari but it would take time because of procedural issues like survey, land acquisition, forest clearance etc. However today, Dr Jitendra Singh informed that after the completion of the survey by M/S Feedback Consultants Ltd, the process of acquisition of land is nearly complete in the Haryana part of corridor and will now be taken up in the Punjab area and thereafter in the Jammu & Kashmir segment. The formal approval of the proposal had already been obtained from the Union Territory government of Jammu & Kashmir and now it has also been obtained from the State government of Punjab. Once it becomes functional, Dr Jitendra Singh observed, people will like to travel between Jammu and Delhi by road instead of undertaking journey by train or by air. The unique feature of this road corridor is that it will connect the two Holy cities of Katra and Amritsar, and at the same time also offer connectivity for some of the important religious shrines between the two destinations. This road corridor will prove to be a path-breaking revolution in promoting industry and economy in the entire region, said Dr Jitendra, and added that it will pave the way for growth of economic hubs in cities like Kathua, Jammu as well Jalandhar and Ludhiana. Thanking Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Minister for Road Transport & Highways Nitin Gadkari for the liberal Central funding to build series of landmark new roads and bridges in the Udhampur-Kathua-Doda Parliamentary constituency during the last six years, Dr Singh recalled that some of the monumental works include the state-of-the-art Chenani-Nashri tunnel which is the first to be named after Dr Syama Prasad Mukherjee, Keeriya-Ghadiyal bridge in Kathua, Atal Setu bridge in Basohli, upgradation of Dhar road, new National Highway approved from Lakhanpur via Bani-Basohli to Bhaderwah-Doda with Chattergala tunnel enroute, new National Highway undertaken from Khilani-Marmat-Sudhmahadev, Kaljugar tunnel connecting Bharderwah in J&K with Chamba in Himachal Pradesh, upgradation of Doda to Bhaderwah road and Doda to Kishtwar road, nearly 20 bridges in and an around Kathua itself, Ganpat bridge at Doda, Phinter bridge in Billawar area, approval for Balsundri tunnel near Billawar etc.
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