GoI’s roadmap for J&K to provide freedom from poverty, unemployment: Nitin Gadkari

TNN Bureau. Updated: 11/25/2021 11:11:37 AM Front Page

“In 2 years, projects of Rs 1Lakh crore will be started, Jmu-Sgr travel time to reduce to 4 hr”’

Jammu: The road map of the central government for Jammu and Kashmir will provide freedom to the people of the Union territory from poverty and unemployment, Union Minister Nitin Gadkari on Wednesday said, assuring of the European-standard infrastructure in the next three years.
The minister was speaking after laying the foundation stone of 25 national highway projects of a total length of 257 km with an investment of Rs 11,721 crore in the Doda district.
Union Minister Jitendra Singh and Lieutenant Governor Manoj Sinha also attended the function.
These projects, which are strategically important for the swift movement of defence forces along with the agricultural, industrial and socioeconomic progress of the region, will provide all-weather connectivity between Jammu and Kashmir.
The projects will connect all major roads leading to various district headquarters and will help in the generation of employment and self-employment opportunities. The projects will involve rehabilitation and up-gradation of some sections, construction of viaduct and tunnel and rectification of black spots, officials said.
In addition to these projects, Gadkari assured projects worth Rs 1 lakh crore for J&K during the next two years.
He also conceded to the demands of various important road projects, including a tunnel for Sadna pass on Kupwara-Tangdhar road and Peer Ki Gali along historic Mughal road, to ensure round-the-year movement of traffic.
''Prime Minister Narendra Modi-led government has taken a pledge for the overall development of J&K and we are working according to it. The road map made for J&K is aimed at giving freedom to the people from poverty and providing jobs to the youth,'' the Union minister said.
He added that J&K is a beautiful place and an attraction for the tourists but besides tourism, the focus is to give a major push to industrialisation and economic upliftment.
''Four things – water, power, transport and communication – are imperative for the success of tourism and industrialisation, which will help in elevating poverty, creating jobs and boosting economy,'' Gadkari said adding that the Centre is making all-out efforts to make J&K developed and prosperous.
Referring to the development of roads in J&K, he said that when the BJP came to power in 2014, the total length of roads in Jammu and Kashmir was 1,695 km, which was expanded to 2,664 km by 2021 and ''we are expanding it further with liberal funding''.
Gadkari also said Jammu and Kashmir is faced with a peculiar situation and the targets cannot be achieved without the construction of the road tunnels. ''J&K is the only part in the country where tunnels worth over Rs 50,000 crore are being constructed.'' ''In addition to the projects worth over Rs 11,500 crore, we are launching road projects worth Rs 1 lakh crore in the next two years. I assure you that the infrastructure will be at par with western European standards,'' he added.
After the completion of ongoing road projects, Gadkari said Jammu and Srinagar will get three corridors that are various stages of construction.
''The Srinagar-Jammu national highway (NH-44) will be completed within two years and the travel journey will get reduced to just four hours,'' he said.
Gadkari added that the second corridor will facilitate travel between Jammu and Srinagar through Kishtwar along NH244 and a third corridor will be through Akhnoor-Mughal road.
Referring to the 650-km Delhi-Katra express highway, he said the work was distributed in different packages and has already started on 16 such packages in Punjab and Haryana.
The 135 km in J&K is covered under four packages and one package was already given while the rest are likely to be given within two months after the completion of the formalities.
''After the completion of the Delhi-Katra express highway, the travel time between major cities, including Delhi-Amritsar, will be four hours, Delhi-Katra six hours and Delhi-Srinagar eight hours. This is my promise and will be fulfilled,'' he said.
The Union minister said work is also under various stages of completion on the Delhi-Mumbai express highway and after its completion, the travel time between the two places will be only 12 hours, while Delhi-Chandigarh, Delhi-Dehradun, Delhi-Haridwar and Delhi-Jaipur will be covered in just two hours.
He added that India is constructing Asia's biggest tunnel at Zojila pass along the Srinagar-Leh national highway.
''While awarding the project, we saved Rs 5,000 crore. The project was cleared in a time-bound process with complete transparency where not a single contractor had to visit the ministry.
''The decisions were taken in a fast track manner and everything was done in a corruption-free atmosphere which is the hallmark of the Modi-led government,'' Gadkari said.
The minister said an inter-model station will be built at Katra, the base camp for the pilgrims visiting the Vaishno Devi shrine with all facilities, including the railway station, helipad and bus stand that will be linked to Delhi-Katra express highway as well.
Briefing the gathering about the facilities being provided at the model station, he asked the lieutenant governor to identify the place for its construction so that the work on the project is started.
He also suggested the lieutenant governor to introduce air condition electric buses in the Union territory.
Speaking on the occasion, LG Manoj Sinha said that the foundations 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 enhancing tourism & business activities, besides strengthening the strategic grid by ensuring all weather connectivity”, he added.
He added that 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”, he said.
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 Hon’ble Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi.
He also noted that the progress of construction of new roads have been doubled across the J&K under the guidance of Union Minister, Sh Nitin Gadkari.
Noting that roads are now being built at twice the speed as before, the Lt Governor said that 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. 109 projects have been completed in Jammu division at a cost of Rs 455 crore, including 14 bridges. Apart from this, 9 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 GoI 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 PMO, 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.

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