There can be no development without road and rail connectivity, this is the mantra adopted by the Lt Governor Manoj Sinha to ensure all inclusive development in Jammu and Kashmir.
To achieve this objective, the national flagship programme, Pradhan Mantri Gram Sadak Yojana (PMGSY) has come handy for the J&K government.
“In the ongoing financial year, 2021-2022, we are building 4,500 km long roads under the PMGSY.
“The roads so constructed will connect 150 habitations across J&K those have remained unconnected so far.
“Fourteen new bridges are also being constructed during this fiscal. The government has allotted Rs 4,089 crore as annual budget for 2021-2022.
“This is 467 crore more than last year’s budget. An online monitoring system has been devised through which all project works right from the DPR stage till their final completion are monitored online,” said a senior official of the public works department.
The official also said that national level consultants are being engaged for developing monitoring mechanisms to keep an eye on the roll-out of third party inspection systems.
In addition to construction of 4,500 km road length under the PMGSY-1 and PMGSY-2 during the current financial year, J&K government has decided to upgrade 1,750 km long existing roads.
“Black-topping of 8,000 km long roads in cities and towns is going on. A total of 250 crore is being provided to ensure pothole free roads,” the official said.
In addition to this, the road transport and highways ministry with its arms like the NHAI and NHIDCL in concert with the border roads organisation and J&K public works department is currently engaged in completing a series of projects.
The 8.5 km long Qazigund-Banihal tunnel across the Pir Panjal Mountain range laid at a cost of Rs 2,100 core on Srinagar-Jammu highway is ready to be thrown open.
The heavy vehicle trial run of the tunnel was completed on Tuesday and the tunnel is being thrown open shortly.
This tunnel will reduce the distance between Qazigund and Banihal town from the existing 36km by 15 km besides by-passing the Jawahar Tunnel and the Shatani Nallah stretches of the highway those become slippery and snowbound during the winter months.
The other ongoing projects include Srinagar-Jammu-Lakhanpur highway, Srinagar Ring road, Jammu Ring road and the tunnel at Z-Morh on Srinagar-Leh highway in addition to the Zojila tunnel that will make the Srinagar-Leh highway an all weather road.
With its rapidly growing rail and road connectivity and the ongoing construction of the Jammu Ring road, Jammu division will get a huge economic boost with its flourishing religious tourism, Mata Vaishno Devi shrine and star-ups in businesses like wood grain work, basmati rice trade, carpets, electric and electronic items.
Four-lanning of Jammu-Srinagar highway and construction of rail link between Udhampur town and the Valley is going on.
The rail link to Valley includes the construction of World’s highest railway bridge called the Chenab Bridge in Ramban district of J&K.
The bridge is 1,315 metre long and 359 metres above the river bed level. The arch of the bridge, which was recently completed, is an engineering marvel. It is 35 metre higher than the Eiffel Tower in Paris.
The construction of the bridge involved fabrication of 28,660 MT steel, 66,000-cum-concrete, 10-lakh-cum earthwork and 26 km long motorable approach.
‘Tekla’, the most sophisticated software has been used for structural detailing of the bridge. Structural steel used is suitable for minus 10 to 40 degrees Celsius.
The bridge is being constructed by Konkan railway corporation at a cost of Rs 1,486 crore.
Lt governor, Manoj Sinha asserts that the ongoing road and railway construction projects will transform the face and economy of J&K.
Given the colossal amounts of money being spent on road and rail projects in J&K, Sinha’s assertion is not an over statement.