Doda, Nov 24: Union Minister of Road Transport & Highways, Nitin Gadkari Wednesday said Jammu and Kashmir will reap the benefits of upcoming modern road infrastructure as measures are underway to boost the socio-economic scenario of the union territory.
The Union Minister was speaking during the foundation laying ceremony of 25 national highway projects worth Rs 11,721 crores here at the Sports Stadium, Doda. He along with Union MoS Dr. Jitendra Singh; Lieutenant Governor (LG) Manoj Sinha launched the foundation stone of the prestigious projects.
The ceremony was held in the presence of Member Parliament, Jugal Kishore Sharma.
Speaking on the occasion, Union Minister Gadkari said that J&K has a huge tourism potential which will finally reap the benefits of upcoming modern road infrastructure projects.
“These projects will prove to be an important lifeline for the development of the industrial sector too,” he added.
“The construction of these road projects will save time and fuel. New employment opportunities will be created in Jammu & Kashmir, tourism of the region will get a boost, and social and economic development of the people of the region will be accelerated”, he remarked.
He said under the leadership of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, the central government is committed to the all round development of Jammu and Kashmir. He assured that road network works worth Rs One lakh crore within next two years will give a boost to the socio-economic development of J&K.
Addressing the gathering, the Lieutenant Governor expressed his gratitude to the Union Minister for Road, Transport & Highways for laying the foundation of 25 new national highway projects and taking keen interest in the continuous strengthening of road infrastructure across the region.
On the occasion, the LG also secured inclusion of six more road projects for Jammu and one project for Kashmir division under National Highways and Bharatmala category.
The inclusion of six more road projects in the Jammu division will give a massive push to the economic growth and industrial development, besides tapping the tourism potential in the region.
These newly included road projects are: Kathua-Basholi-Bani-Bhaderwah-Doda (170 KM); Doda-Bhaderwah-Chamba (Himachal) Road (132 KM); Dayalachak-Challan-Billawar-Mahanpur-Basohli Road(118 KM); Tawi Bridge-Jammu Airport-Miran Sahib-R.S.Pura Suchetgarh (Old Jammu-Sialkot Road) (29 KM); Surankote-Bafliaz-Shopian-Srinagar (Mughal Road) (145 KM); Atholi(Kishtwar)-Machail-Zanskar Road (Kargil); Narabal-Tangmarg-Gulmarg-Baramulla (70 KM).
Underscoring that robust road network and modern transportation is the key to economic growth, prosperity of the region and transformation in every sphere of life, the LG said that the foundations of Rs 11,721 crore national highway projects besides seven new projects will pave the way for sustainable development in J&K.
“The new mega road projects will open up new livelihood avenues for the local population and enhance tourism and business activities, besides strengthening the strategic grid by ensuring all weather connectivity,” he added.
He said the 25 national highway projects will connect all the villages of Udhampur, Doda, Jammu, Kathua, uplifting thousands of small and big businesses.
“I am confident that these projects will prove to be an important economic lifeline and highways of progress and prosperity for Jammu division,” observed the LG.
He said that after the abrogation of Article 370 in 2019, the execution of new roads, tunnels and other basic infrastructure has gained huge push to ensure the overall development of the UT of J&K under the dynamic leadership of Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
The LG also noted that the progress of construction of new roads have been doubled across the J&K under the guidance of Union Minister Nitin Gadkari.
Noting that roads are now being built at twice the speed as before, he said there has been a radical change in its progress under Pradhan Mantri Gram Sadak Yojana. Last year, 2402 km of road was constructed under PMGSY in Jammu division. Since August 2019, taking into account the figures of October 2021, 3885 kms length of road has been built under PMGSY in Jammu division alone. Around 109 projects have been completed in Jammu division at a cost of Rs 455 crore, including 14 bridges. Apart from this, nine bridges worth Rs 19 crores have been completed under various other schemes, he added.
He said that infrastructure development and raising the standard of living of the common man is an important part of the overall economic priorities of the union government and the J&K UT government.
“Now macadamisation of the road is also taking place at double or triple times the speed as compared to earlier. In 2019, 2290 km of road was blacktopped, while last year, 5136 km of road was macadamized. This year a target of macadamisation of 8000 km of road has been set,” he added.
Union MoS Dr. Jitendra Singh also addressed the gathering and said that this is the historic day for the Chenab region that 25 new NH projects are launched.
He said that the central government has framed a separate road map for the development of the UT and to accelerate the developmental scenario, new bridges, roads, tunnels are being built on war footing involving thousands of crores.
He said that the union government is giving special focus to the areas which were neglected in the last seven decades by the earlier political parties. He said the present dispensation has established a new political culture by executing projects as per the demands and requirements of the people to ensure equitable and inclusive development in Jammu & Kashmir.
Dhananter Singh, DDC Chairperson Doda; Pooja Thakur DDC Chairperson Kishtwar; Rajeev Rai Bhatnagar, Advisor to the LG; Shailendra Kumar, Principal Secretary Public Works (R&B) Department; Mukesh Singh, ADGP Jammu; Dr Raghav Langer, Divisional Commissioner Jammu, besides PRI members, former legislators, besides key officials of Police and Civil administration and a large number of people were also present.