Expressing dismay over the sluggish pace of work on the upgradation of the arduous Banihal-Ramban stretch of Srinagar-Jammu National Highway, the Chief Secretary, B.B Vyas on Monday asked the executing agency to immediately flag the issues hampering the work so that the same are taken up at the appropriate level.
“We can’t afford to drag-on this key connectivity project endlessly. Enough time has been already lost and there has to be now tangible movement forward on providing all-weather connectivity to Kashmir valley with the rest of the country,” Vyas told the executing agency during his on-the-spot visit of the project site today.
The Chief Secretary travelled from Srinagar to Jammu by road today to personally take stock of the road condition, snow clearance measures, disaster preparedness and progress of upgradation and developmental works of the arterial link enroute. He also took stock of the status of work on the Katra-Banihal rail link project.
The Chief Secretary was accompanied by Home Secretary, R K Goyal, Director General of Police, S P Vaid, Divisional Commissioner Kashmir, Baseer Ahmad Khan, Divisional Commissioner Jammu, Dr Mandeep Bhandari, DC Ramban Tariq Hussain Ganai and other concerned officers.
During his visit, the Chief Secretary took on-the-spot review of the progress of work on 8.45 km long New Qazigund-Banihal road tunnel, Ramban-Nashri & Chenani-Udhampur stretches of the highway, Katra-Banihal rail link and other related connectivity projects.
Regarding, New Qazigund-Banihal road tunnel, the Chief Secretary was informed that 80% work is complete on the tunnel and it would be through for traffic next year, bringing down the travel time between Srinagar and Jammu considerably.
Regarding progress of work on Ramban-Nashri stretch, the Chief Secretary was informed that it involves construction of a bridge near Ramban market and some small tunnels and 35% work stands completed on the project.
Regarding Chenani-Udhampur stretch of the highway, the Chief Secretary was informed that work is going on at full pace and it would be completed within the set timeframe.