Connectivity JK’s biggest challenge: Naeem Akhtar

0

Jammu: Minister for Public Works, Naeem Akhtar on Monday said ironically even after 70 years of independence, connectivity continues to be the biggest challenge for Jammu and Kashmir.

The spokesman has quoted the Minister saying while winding up the discussion on Demand for Grants of the Public Works,“Kashmir must be only part of the world today, where people have to switch on the radio in the morning to know about the status of the road connecting them with the outside world.”

The spokesman said with the efforts of the previous regimes and the present Government, there is now hope that by the end of this year, there will be improved connectivity between Kashmir and rest of the country with the accomplishment of the up gradation of a major portion of Srinagar-Jammu national highway.

He said there are connectivity issues not only between Srinagar and Jammu but between various sub-regions as well which need to be addressed with focused resolve.

To further boost the connectivity in the State, the Minister said that an allocation of Rs 42000 crore has been earmarked under the Prime Minister’s Development Package (PMDP) for construction of national highways and tunnels in the State. He said the prestigious Chenani-Nashri tunnel has been operationalized and 84 km long Mughal road has also been completed that connects Bufliaz in Jammu province to Shopian in Kashmir province.

He said the Government of India has declared Kargil-Zanskar road, Srinagar-Shopian-Qazigund road and Jammu-Akhnoor-Poonch road as National Highways – NH 301, NH 444 and NH 144 ‑ respectively while as in-principle approval has been accorded for declaring Dinga Amb-Challan-Udhampur road, Lakhanpur-Mahanpur-Basohli-Dunera road and Basohli-Bhaderwah-Doda road as national highways.

“The work on Z-Morh tunnel and road from Udhampur to Ramban and Ramban to Banihal are going on in full swing,” the Minister said, adding the Centre has sanctioned special maintenance package of over Rs 95 crore for road projects.

The Minister said the work for preparation of DPRs for a realigned portion of Batote-Kishtwar–Sinthan-Khannabal, Chenani-Sudhmahadev-Goha-Khellani including 3.5 km long tunnel at Goha, Sudhmahadev-Goha tunnel and Singhpora-Vailoo tunnel is under process. For the construction of a tunnel on Mughal road, the tender has been floated by NHIDCL for preparation of DPR, he added.

Government is making all-out efforts for construction of Sadhna tunnel, four-laning of Srinagar-Baramulla Highway from Baramulla-Kupwara-Sangrama and providing inter-district connectivity through an alternate highway from Ganderbal, Bandipora and Lolab.

Under PM’s package, two ring road projects have been approved for the state at the cumulative cost of Rs 4,000 crore, one in Srinagar at the cost of Rs 2,201 crore and other in Jammu at the cost of Rs 2,097 crore. DPRs for constructing semi-ring roads around twin cities of Srinagar and Jammu have been prepared, he added.

“The construction of Mughal road reduced the travel distance from Poonch to Srinagar to 175 km, Rajouri to Srinagar to 200 km and Poonch to Srinagar to 135 km,” he said, stressing that the government is making all-out efforts to get Mughal road declared as National Highway and construct 8.5 km long tunnel between Zaznar and Chatapani at the estimated cost of Rs 3,500 crore to render an all-weather road connectivity in the region.

The Minister informed that the GoI has approved Phase-XI of Pradhan Mantri Gram SadakYojana (PMGSY) that includes 199 project proposals worth Rs 955.63 crore covering a road length of 1,211.31 km across the state.

Under PMGSY, 131 projects have been completed in 2017-18. The government received Rs 319.375 crore from the Centre, besides one-time special dispensation of Rs 1,287 crore as cost of land acquisition for PMGSY projects, he informed.

Naeem informed the House that Government of India has agreed to sanction projects worth Rs 1200 crore under Central Road Fund (CRF). He said out of 230 sanctioned schemes under the plan, 73 projects have been completed at the cost of Rs 1,048.49 crore and 17 new schemes are targeted to be completed in 2018-19, he stressed.

“The work on prestigious Bhaderwah-Chamba road sanctioned under ISC has been completed,” the Minister said, adding the work is in full swing on 1,210 m span (double lane) pre-stressed bridge over river Ravi at village Keerian Gandialat the estimated cost of Rs 158.84 crore.

Stressing that NABARD has been the main source of funding for the department to build rural infrastructure related to roads and bridges, the Minister informed that 51 projects have been completed in the current year while as 11 projects would be completed by March 2018.

“156 new projects costing Rs 429.14 crore have been recommended for funding under NABARD RIDF XXIII and 109 schemes are targeted to be completed in 2018-19”, he informed.

He informed that Rs 580 crore has been allocated for PWD works under World Bank assistance for Jhelum Tawi Flood Recovery project.

Stressing that the state has witnessed a twofold rise in macadamization of roads during the current fiscal, Minister for Public Works Naeem Akhtar said the government has macadamized a total of 4,056.25 km road length in 2017-18 till November 2017 including 1,330.02 km in Jammu and 2,726.23 km in Kashmir.

“The government would macadamize a road length of 3,898.12 km in 2018-19 under different schemes”, he added.

Giving details about the works of JKPCC, the Minister said the Corporation is executing about 377 works in the state at the cost of Rs 4,598.42 crore.

The Minister said the Corporation constructed Pushwara bridge in Anantnag, Manzgam-Panzgam Bridge and Meelyal Bridge in Kupwara, Pedestrian Bridge in Rajbagh, Polytechnic Colleges in Reasi, Samba and Kathua and other projects in the state. It would complete 30 bridges/roads and more than 27 buildings of different departments in 2018-19, he added.

Informing that about 6000 km road length and 600 bridges were damaged in 2014 floods, the Minister said the government launched a massive programme to improve riding surface of roads.

The government spent Rs 1,220 crore (Rs 623.66 crore in Kashmir and Rs 596.34 crore in Jammu) on this programme in 2015-16, 2016-17 and 2017-18 till November 2017 and cleared a liability of Rs 200 crore this year, he added.

The Minister said 511 bridges are under construction in the state and 18 bridges have been completed in the current year while as 26 bridges are expected to be completed during next fiscal. He informed that 204 bridges, 117 in Jammu and 87 in Kashmir, are targeted to be completed up to 2019-20.

Under ‘Prime Minister’s package for flood-damaged infrastructure’, the Minister said the work on 166 bridges has been completed while as 18 bridges would be completed by March 2018, he added.

Listing new initiatives taken by the department, the Minister said social media has been used for line tracking of different projects, Standard Bidding Document formed to streamline tendering process, comprehensive quality assurance manual finalized and joint ventures have been allowed for the participation of small/medium firms and individual participation in bigger projects.

For ensuring quality of road projects, the Minister said Road Safety Audit Cell has been established in the Directorate of Design, Inspections & Quality Control (DIQC) as the nodal agency in the state for engineering aspects of road safety, besides pressing State Quality Monitors (SQMs) on the pattern of PMGSY into service for quality assurance of CRF roads.

Later, the House passed the grants amounting to Rs 289409.37 lakh for Public Works (Roads and Buildings) and allied Departments.

Several members today took part in the Discussion on Demands of Grants for Public Works Department in Legislative Assembly and projected series of demands of their respective constituencies.

Initiating the discussion, Syed Aga Ruhullah appreciated the government for macadamization of roads, though seeking further improvement and up gradation of major state roads, including Humhama road. He sought upgrading of Bus Yard Budgam and construction of the pedestrian path from Old Bus Stand to new Bus Stand, Budgam. He also pleaded for construction of By-Pass road and a bridge between DC Office to New Bus Yard Budgam.

Opposition accuses BJP-PDP of taking good roads home, Red Faced Minister says babus tabled wrong info

He also sought speeding up of construction work on National Highway from Srinagar to Jawar tunnel like Chenanni Tunnel to Udhampur section.   He hailed the Centre and State Government for the inauguration of Nashri- Chenanni Tunnel. However, he urged for early release of funding for construction of Zojila Tunnel.

Syed Ruhullah asked the government to ensure timely compensation to the owners of land acquired for the construction of Ring Road Project in Kashmir.

Sat Paul Sharma thanked the minister for launching state wide macadamization works and said that majority of people have been benefitted with the massive work. He suggested the government to construct concrete roads on the pattern of Mumbai to prevent erosion of blacktopping due to rains and snow. He said due to eroding of macadamization every year, Maharashtra Government opted for concrete roads to increase their lifespan.

He also expressed concern over the traffic congestion in the Jammu city and suggested the government to construct a flyover from KC to Ambphala and from there to Janipur High court to de-congest the road.

G M Saroori urged new road projects under NABARD in far-flung areas of the State including Warwan, Dachan, Bani, Basoli and Sudmahadev. He sought early completion of Dak Banglow, School, Hospital buildings being constructed by the R&B Department in Doda and Kishtwar districts. He further sought the creation of R&B Division Thathri. He also demanded the early release of compensation for fruit trees being cut for construction and upgrading of roads under NABARD, CRF, PMGSY, District Sector and State Sectors in Doda and Kishtwar districts during the last three years. He also called for the construction of a tunnel at Mudda in Kishtwar.

Mohammad Yousuf Bhat praised the government for taking up massive reconstruction of infrastructure damaged in 2014 floods including macadamization of roads across the state.

He urged the government to take up up-gradation of roads in Shopian district as no major project in the area has been taken under NABARD and CRF last year.

He also urged the government to construct ring road to de-congest the traffic in Shopian town as it witnesses huge rush of traffic, especially during fruit season. He also called for up-gradation and macadamization of Shopian-Kulgam road. He also urged the government to construct a road to connect the Shopian Fruit Mandi with the main road.

The legislator also stressed the need for early construction of a tunnel to make Mughal Road an alternate all weather Srinagar-Jammu highway and urged the government to take up the issue with the centre for early sanction of the project.

Hakeem Mohammad Yasin appreciated the R&B Minister for improving the working of the Department and sought more steps to streamline the working further. He also hailed the work done by the former Public Works Department Minister Syed Mohammad Altaf Ahmad Bukhari, especially for taking up massive macadamization works across the state.

He asked the government to expedite the pace of construction works on various bridges including Babapura, Dragger, Sail-bridge, Qumroo, Kangripura- Chill, Narigund Bridges in Khan Sahib Constituency. He called upon the government for construction of a bridge over Nallah Sukhnar in his Constituency, construction of road from Arizal to Mandi to provide easy road connectivity to Poonch District, the release of pending land compensation in his Constituency and brining transparency in the process of the e-tendering system as promised by the Government.

Yawar Ahmad Mir while highlighting the importance of Public Works Department in the development of the state, he praised the Minister for recording tremendous progress on road development works in his constituency.

He urged the government for rationalization of works with regard to road projects by prioritizing the neglected constituencies.

Mubarak Gul also sought liberal funding for Srinagar City under R & B sector. He sought immediate removal of bottlenecks, if any, on Circular Road Project for expediting the work on the project. He also asked the government for bringing transparency in the tendering system. He said five divisions of R & B Department are working in his Constituency and suggested for the posting of Executive Engineer for at least for two divisions.

He asked the government for providing liberal funding for Srinagar city and also urged the government for proper sharing of funds from NABARD, CRF, PMGSY and State Sector. He suggested for utilization of other material like plastic etc instead of timber on panelling work carried by the JKPCC.

Davinder Maniyal lauded the Public Works department for expanding road connectivity thus paving way for the development of the state. He called for laying more focus on rural connectivity and taking up more projects under CRF and construction and macadamization of important roads in his constituency.

He also urged government for taking up projects under BADP,   issuing NOCs and clearances of various departments for the roads being constructed under PMGSY.

MY Tarigami observes that the roads in Chenab valley has always been the concern and urges the government to prioritize public works in the area as there is dire need of construction there.

He also urged the government to take up projects under CRF, NABARD, BADP    and other centrally sponsored schemes to upgrade the rural connectivity in far-flun areas.

 Choudhary Mohammad Akram asked the government for construction of Tunnel on Mughal Road and Gurez and expediting construction of Primary Health Centre (PHC) building in his Constituency. He urged the government for speeding up of construction work on Mandi-Paghla Road sanctioned under CRF. He appreciated the Minister and his team for completing many projects.

He demanded to enhance the ceiling of NABARD funding for road projects in his Constituency. He also demanded construction of Bridges and widening of Bafliaz to Surankote road.

Noor Mohammad Sheikh appreciated the government for macdamization works completed during last three years. He suggested for formulating comprehensive Detailed Project Reports (DPRs) for the proposed projects like bridges, roads, buildings etc to avoid technical hitch during execution. He asked the government for expediting construction work on Qamarwari Noorbagh, Shaltang and Takanwari bridges for timely completion. He called for timeline completion of Mother-Child Hospital at Bemina, though appreciating that the work on the project is in full swing.  

Mohammad Shafi Uri urged the government for expediting construction work on the various ongoing road and other projects in his Constituency and also asked them for their timely completion.

Bashir Ahmad Dar appreciated the government for taking up massive projects under R&B sector during last three years. He said road connectivity was must for development and hailed the government for speeding up widening work on Jammu-Srinagar National Highway. He called for timely completion of all ongoing road and bridge projects in his Constituency. He congratulated the R & B Minister for macadamization works taken up in the State and urged for construction of Sadna Tunnel to avoid mishaps on the Karnah road.

R S Pathania appreciated the government for successfully carrying out works by R & B Department. He asked the government to lay primary focus on rural areas and framing District Road Safety Action Plan.

Abid Hussain Ansari appreciated the government for the works carried out under R & B sector in past three years. However, he urged the government to focus on Srinagar City and strive for early completion of construction work on Noorbagh Bridge to avoid cost escalation. He said the department should fix priorities for time-bound completion of the ongoing projects. He demanded the widening of Hazratbal road and blacktopping of Nowshera road.

Mumtaz Ahmad Khan sought improvement and upgrading of roads of Gulabgarh Constituency. He also asked the government for immediate starting of construction work on up-gradation and macadamization of Reasi to Mahore. He sought immediate repair and renovation of two Dak Bungalows in his Constituency, early issuance of forest clearance to PMGSY road projects sanctioned for Gulabgarh Constituency. He hailed the government for introducing e-tendering in R&B Department and urged for its proper implementation.

Choudhary Qamar Hussain appreciating the achievements registered under Public Works sector, he urged the government to expedite work on road projects in his constituency and liberal funding under Border Area Development Programme (BADP). He congratulated   R&B Rajouri for successful tendering for various developmental works.

Sheikh Ishfaq Jabbar urged the government to ensure transparent implementation of projects on the ground and claimed that there were some disparities in macadamization works in his constituency. He urged for the equitable allocation of macadamization works, speeding up of construction on bridge projects including Guzhama, Bobsipora, Watalbagh and Bamloora and timely completion of the ongoing building of District Hospital Ganderbal and Engineering College Safapora.

Vikar Rasool Wani appreciated the work done on National Highway and called for expediting Banihal to Qazigund stretch. He suggested for construction of a tunnel from Batote to Magarkot and completion of developmental projects in a time-bound manner. He appealed Public Works Minister to conduct the review of ongoing developmental work in Banihal Constituency. He further sought action on Chief Minister’s assurances during her outreach visit to Banihal Constituency, forest clearance for the sanctioned road projects and macadamization of roads on priority.

Mohammad Khalil Bandh thanked the Minister for Public Works and government for sanctioning various road projects for Pulwama Constituency and ensuring equitable development of all the regions.   He sought speeding up of the pace of work on ongoing developmental projects in his Constituency for timely completion.

Daleep Singh Parihar appreciated government for registering record achievements in R&B sector in the last three years, carrying out massive macadamization works, preparing Detailed Project Reports (DPRs) for various projects including roads in his constituency. He demanded the early execution of work on sanctioned projects while congratulating Public Works Minister Naeem Akhtar for starting up-gradation, improvement and renovation of various roads and link roads in Bhaderwah.

Altaf Ahmad Wani complained about, what he said dilapidated condition of some important roads in his home constituency Pahalgam. He urged the government to take up macadamization works on these important roads while stressing on the equitable development of the State. He asked the government to sanction new road projects for his constituency.

He demanded early implementation of District Development Board decisions regarding the construction of Seer-Nambal and Amad-Bagwani bridges and Amad-Aishmuqam road. He also urged the government to bring transparency in the system.

 Pawan Kumar Gupta also took part in the discussion and demanded early completion of all ongoing developmental projects including roads in his Constituency. He demanded for immediate issuance of forest clearance certificates to various road projects sanctioned under various centrally and state-sponsored schemes of Udhampur Constituency.

Syed Farooq Ahmad Andrabi appreciated the government for undertaking remarkable works in R&B sector during the last three years. He demanded speeding up of construction work on all projects in Dooru Constituency.

He appreciated the functioning of R & B department but pleaded for improvement in the working of Jammu and Kashmir Project Construction Corporation (JKPCC). He called for construction and development of Kapran Dessa road project.

Mohammad Akbar Lone drew the attention of the government towards, what he said deteriorating condition of Srinagar Bandipora road and demanded speeding up of upgrading work which was set to be completed by the end of December last year. He urged the government to expedite the work on the road keeping in view the importance of the road connecting Bandipora and Gurez with Srinagar city.

 He further called for expediting the pace of work on   Nowpora-Zalpora Bridge and Shadipora Foot Bridge in Sumbal-Sonawari Constituency and Zuhama Bridge, starting of construction of various road projects sanctioned under PMGSY in 2016-2017 in his Constituency and up-gradation and improvement of Hajin to Makhdoomwari road.

Mohammad Amin Bhat urged the government to speed up pace of work on various ongoing R&B projects in Devsar Constituency for their timely completion.  He sought to sanction of atleast one road project under PMGSY, CRF and NABARD in each assembly Constituency.

 Ali Mohammad Sagar, while taking part in the discussion, urged the government to ensure equitable development of all the constituencies and appealed the government to take in confidence the concerned legislator while implementing new projects in a particular area.   

He also appealed the government to lay special focus on the development of roads in Srinagar city including completion of Syed Mirakh Shah road, which he said connects 6 constituencies. He also called for the early execution of work on the circular road project in the city.

Asgar Ali Karbalai enumerated important road projects of his constituency, which according to him are yet to be sanctioned or executed. He urged the government to lay special focus on the development of roads and bridges in Kargil district.    He demanded early completion of over a dozen unfinished bridges and few road projects taken up in Kargil district under different centrally sponsored schemes including PMGSY, NABARD, BADP etc.

He urged the government to expedite the work on Z-Morh stretch of Srinagar-Kargil road and meet the long-pending aspiration of Ladakh people by constructing Zojila tunnel without further delay.

 Abdul Rehim Rather, while appreciating achievements recorded under R&B sector during the latest three years, said the macadamization works benefitted the maximum number of people. However, he asked the government to priorities left out areas in coming financial year. He demanded the construction of bridges in his constituency including one at Village Halipora. He also called for the construction of Wyloo – Singpora tunnel and By-pass road in Kokernag keeping in view the importance of famous health resort. He also urged the government to construct bus stops in Kokernag and speed up pace of other ongoing works there.

 Ravinder Raina praised Minister for Public Works and his team of officers for successfully implementing important road projects in the state, besides getting various important road projects sanctioned from centre to expand road connectivity.

He, however, urged the government to streamline tendering process, take action against contractors for delaying constructions allotted to them. He said such steps will ensure more efficiency in the working of the department and help to gain public trust.

Javid Ahmad Rana, while taking part in the discussion, thanked the minister for taking up some important road projects in his constituency for execution. However, he called for completion of incomplete roads and bridges in his constituency by providing liberal funding.

He also urged the government to clear liabilities pending in his constituency and find out reasons for cost overrun of some projects.  He also suggested having a separate building wing to streamline the construction of building projects in the state.

 Shah Mohammad Tantray also appreciated the functioning of R&B department and urged the government to sanction road projects under NABARD in his constituency, identify road projects and bridges in his constituency that need to be constructed for the benefit of the local population.  He also appealed government to expedite work on road projects and buildings under execution in his constituency. 

Shamim Firdous demanded the construction of Barbar Shah Bridge in Srinagar, road widening from Bri-Kuj Chandpora to Barbar Shah Habba Kadal, demolition of unsafe structures on the road side in Habba Kadal especially at Chikral Mohalla, Babpora and near Habba Kadal Chowk. She also urged the government to expedite the construction work of shops at Sheshyar and Habba Kadal. She asked the government for providing special funds for the development of Srinagar City.

Raja Manzoor Ahmad hailed Public Works Minister for streamlining the functioning of the department and enforcing transparency in the system. He also thanked the minister for achieving the fixed targets with regard to the implementation of various public projects.

 

 He, however, asked the government to focus on increasing connectivity in far-off areas. He urged the government to construct a tunnel to connect Kupwara with Karnah to by-pass Sadnah Top, he said the spot is witnessing frequent accidents.

 Abdul Majeed Bhat Larmi, while taking part in the discussion, demanded early construction of Tengjan Demudull Bridge damaged in 2014-floods and Khudwani-Sangam road via Shamsipora in Homshalibugh Constituency. He also urged the government for opening   R & B Sub-Division at Qaimoh, Yaripora and Frisal and execution of left out macadamization works in the Constituency during the next financial year on priority.

 Daldan Namgyal demanded CRF roads for his constituency and said no project was sanctioned for Kargil. He also urged the government to complete UDMARG Bridge under BFC at the earliest by allocating adequate funds from state Capex budget and other sectors. He also urged the government to complete other roads, which according to him are pending from past three years, including Largyab-Patcha-Thang road being constructed under PMGSY.

 He also appealed government for opening Turtuk-Hanu road as committed by the Chief Minister during her visit to Nobra Valley.

 Abdul Majid Padder appreciated the department for doing the commendable job while executing various road projects in his constituency.

He urged the government to provide compensation to the owners for the land provided for PMGSY roads.

Abdul Rashid Dar appreciated the works done by the department in few areas. He, however, urged the government to investigate why the randomization was damaged only after few months, especially in Mundji and Zaloora villages.

 He said the work on Watlab Zoorimanz road has not been taken up as per the commitment for the same made by the former minister and also urged to take up renovation works on Warpora Seelu road.  He also sought renovation of Baba Shakur-ud-Din Road and widening of the road leading to Fruit Mandi including Sopore to Achabal Road and early completion of Mahrajpora Bridge.

 Usman Abdul Majid appreciated Minister for working tirelessly to develop infrastructure in the state. He urged the government to take steps to de-congest traffic in major towns and cities by constructing by-pass roads, flyovers and bridges for the convenience of people.

 He pointed out that the work on 14 kilometre stretch on Bandipora-Lolab has not been taken up owing to Supreme court ruling as more trees are to be cut due to which the road is not being completed. He suggested the government to construct a 3-kilometre tunnel as committed by the former Chief Minister to avoid axing of trees to complete the road.

 He also urged the government to expedite the work on Sopore –Bandipora road and pending Forest clearance for PMGSY roads.

 He also demanded by-pass road to decongest Bandipora town and separate mechanical division for the district of Bandipora and restarting of work on Kehnusa-Rajpora-Rampora road.

About Author

Leave A Reply

*