Show some seriousness
Now that the Jammu-Srinagar national highway has been causing lot of problems for the people of the Valley, it is the government’s lackadaisical attitude that is not helping the case of creating an alternative route to the NH44.
The government had few years back initiated a proposal to construct a tunnel on the historic Mughal Road and make it an all-weather route, but as of now the proposal has not seen any progress for the past eight years now.
The state government has been raising the issue quite vehemently over the past eight years now, but still the federal government has not been accepting the proposal and allocating funds for it.
From the National Conference-Congress government to the PDP-BJP dispensation in Jammu and Kashmir, the successive regimes in the state have made repeated requests to the government of India to fund construction of the tunnel.
The historic Mughal Road connects Kashmir with Poonch via southern Shopian district and if the proposed tunnel is constructed, the road could be an alternative to the Srinagar-Jammu highway, which often remains closed during winters due to landslides and shooting stones.
Notably, the state government also submitted a proposal for preparation of a detailed project report (DPR) of the tunnel to the Planning Commission of India, which was replaced by NITI Aaoyg in 2014. However, nothing concrete has come out of it so far.
Following repeated pleas of the state government, the National Highways and Infrastructure Development Corporation Limited (NHIDCL) in 2017 sought proposals from eligible consultants for preparation of the DPR and work out pre-consultation activities for the tunnel.
But, the NHIDCL suddenly put the tendering process on hold, arguing that the MoRTH has not entrusted the project to it. Adding insult to the injury is the fact that the union government is not approving the proposal of double lanning of the all important Mughal road that could prove to bring in the much needed relief for the people of Valley and Ladakh division.
Though NHIDCL again invited proposals for DPR preparation for two-laning of the Mughal road, but so far no headway has been made.
What is really worrisome is the fact that the Union Ministry of roadways is not taking a keen interest in making the NH44 an all weather road. The road needs to be widened and several tunnels and bridges need to be constructed on it so that it can turn out to be an all weather road.
But so far the widening work on Srinagar-Banihal road link is yet to be completed.
According to the latest flash report of union ministry of statistics and program implementation (MOSPI), the project was scheduled to be completed in 2014. It has missed five deadlines since.
The four-laning of Srinagar-Banihal road was sanctioned with an estimated cost of Rs 1100.7 crore in 2011. The project was scheduled to be completed in 2014. But given the way the project is being handled it will take years to see completion.