KG News Desk
Srinagar, June 19: The widening and upgradation work on 170 kilometers on Srinagar-Jammu National Highway has been completed at a cost of Rs. 5011 crore whileas work is in full swing on the balance portion of the Highway, including some tunnels and by passes.
This was disclosed in a review meeting to monitor the progress of widening of National Highway held here today with Chief Minister, Mehbooba Mufti in chair.
The meeting was informed that 67% work on the 68 kilometre Srinagar-Qazigund stretch has been completed while as work is on to get the proposed Banihal tunnel through at the earliest. The tunnel is expected to be readied by the year end while as the entire stretch would be readied by next year, the Chief Minister was informed by the representatives of the project executing agency. Similarly, Pampore and Bijbehara by pass projects are almost completed and likely to be thrown open by next month, she was informed.
Terming the Srinagar-Jammu widening project as critically important for the State, the Chief Minister said on completion the project is going to change the entire profile of the State and its people. She asked the project implementing agencies to factor in this objective and complete their projects without delaying any further.
The Chief Minister was informed that the Jammu-Udhampur stretch of the National Highway has been completed while work is on at the Udhampur-Ramban and Ramban-Banihal stretches with varying degrees of completion.
Mehbooba Mufti specifically directed the project executing agencies to develop the vacant spaces and adjoining patches along the Highway with more greenery, plants and flowers to enhance the aesthetic appeal of the project. She also directed maintenance of the old National Highway by the NHAI till the new entire stretch is completed and operationalised.
The Chief Minister was informed by the NHAI authorities that they have decided to develop a quality wayside facility on the newly constructed highway after every 40 kilometres and also plantations would be made to make it one of the greenest corridors developed by them in the country.
During the meeting, the Chief Minister also reviewed the progress achieved on land acquisition and other initial procedures on the ambitious Srinagar and Jammu semi ring road projects. She was informed that bids have been invited for the Jammu project while work is going on the Srinagar project. All the land issues of the two projects would be settled by the end of next month, she was informed.
Minister for R&B, Naeem Akhtar; Chairman, NHAI, Y S Malik; Chief Secretary, B. B. Vyas; Principal Secretary to Chief Minister, Rohit Kansal; Commissioner-Secretary, Revenue, Muhammad Ashraf Mir; Commissioner-Secretary, Forests, Mohammad Afzal Bhat; Secretary, R& B, Sanjeev Verma; Divisional Commissioners of Kashmir and Jammu; IGP, Traffic, Jagjit Kumar; Deputy Commissioners of Srinagar, Anantnag, Pulwama, Ramban, Ganderbal, Jammu; representatives project construction companies; officers of NHAI and State Government were present on the occasion.
Chairman NHAI meets Governor
Yudhvir Singh Malik, Chairman National Highways Authority of India, called on Governor N.N. Vohra at the Raj Bhavan here today.
Malik briefed the Governor about the to-date status of both the on-going as well as the proposed road and highway projects in Jammu and Kashmir being implemented by the National Highway Authority of India. Among the ongoing works the Governor had detailed discussions with Malik about the completion of the remainder portions of the Udhampur-Banihal and the Banihal-Srinagar sectors of the Jammu-Srinagar National Highway.
 The Governor stressed the need for ensuring very early completion of all the road projects, particularly the Udhampur-Srinagar segment of the National Highway. He also urged Malik to devote particular attention to the maintenance of existing Highways and ensure the provision of Lay Overs and Way Side Amenities along all National Highways alongside removal of the rapidly increasing encroachments along the Highways.  He also pointed to the need for plantation of suitable varieties of both flowering and shady trees along all the Highways.