Jammu: With a view to give major boost to development in the Jammu region, Union Minister for Road, Transport and National Highways Nitin Gadkari has approved two projects worth Rs 2556.36 crore on Samba-Jammu and Akhnoor-Poonch National Highways saying under the leadership of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, infrastructure in the Union Territories of Jammu and Kashmir and Ladakh is transforming rapidly.
Gadkari has approved development work of Jakh (Vijaypur)-Kunjwani section of National Highway-44 to six lane Expressway, reported daily excelsior quoting official sources.
The work include development of Kunjwani to 4th Tawi bridge section of National Highway–144A.
“A total budget of Rs 1821.72 crore has been sanctioned for these two two projects,” sources said.
Jakh-Kunjwani falls on Samba-Jammu road and is part of Pathankot-Jammu National Highway which is presently four-lane. Six-laning of Kunjwani-4th Tawi bridge section of NH-144A will heavily reduce traffic congestion.
The six-laning of two major roads, according to sources, will go long way in reducing traffic load on the Samba-Jammu section of Pathankot-Jammu National Highway and traffic entering Jammu City from Kunjwani and Satwari Chowk.
Traffic of Akhnoor, Rajouri and Poonch roads coming from Samba, Kathua, Punjab etc is already taking 4th Tawi bridge route and widening of Kunjwani-bridge to six-lanes will give smooth sailing to traffic flow, sources pointed out.
In another important decision from the development point of view, Gadkari has approved Rs 734.64 crore for work of rehabilitation and up gradation to two-lane with paved shoulders from existing chainage including the construction of Bhimber Gali Tunnel under 31 TF on Akhnoor-Poonch road (National Highway 144A).
The budget of Rs 734.64 crore has been sanctioned under Project Sampark and Border Roads Organizations on Engineering, Procurement and Construction (EPC) mode, the Union Minister said.
The Central Government has already approved widening of Jammu-Akhnoor road followed by Akhnoor-Poonch road via Nowshera and Rajouri which will help in fast movement of traffic and curtail travel hours especially on Akhnoor-Poonch road.
“The Bhimber Gali Tunnel will help in reducing the distance between Akhnoor to Poonch,” sources pointed out.
The Government will shortly come out with deadlines for completion of six-laning of Jakh-Kunjwani, Kunjwani-4th Tawi bridge and Bhimber Gali Tunnel construction, they said.
Work is already going on at widening of Jammu-Akhnoor road. However, according to sources, work on Akhnoor-Poonch section of the National Highway will be taken up simultaneously.
Besides helping locals of the twin border districts of Rajouri and Poonch by cutting travel time, the widening of Jammu-Poonch road by Akhnoor, Nowshera and Rajouri will also lead to speedy movement of defence vehicles as both the districts share Line of Control (LoC) with Pakistan.
Meanwhile, Gadkari credited Prime Minister Narendra Modi for infrastructure development in the Union Territories of Jammu and Kashmir and Ladakh.
Describing Zojila tunnel being constructed on Srinagar-Kargil road in the Union Territory of Ladakh as a landmark project, Gadkari said the tunnel will drastically improve connectivity in the region.
“Under the leadership of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, infrastructure in the Union Territories of Jammu and Kashmir and Ladakh is transforming rapidly. Zojila tunnel is a landmark project and will improve connectivity,” the Union Minister said.
It may be mentioned here that Srinagar-Leh National Highway remains closed during nearly four months of winter due to snowfall at Zojila. However, construction of the tunnel will make Srinagar-Leh all-weather highway.
Gadkari had recently stated that a hill station, more enchanting than the world-famous Davos in Switzerland, is being planned in the picturesque landscape between the 18-km stretch of Zojila tunnel in Ladakh and Z-Morh tunnel in Jammu & Kashmir.
“We are planning to make a hill city, more attractive than Davos on the picturesque high-altitude 18 km terrain between Zojila tunnel and Z-Morh tunnel…The world-class project will change the dynamics of both Ladakh and Jammu & Kashmir territories and create huge employment,” Gadkari had said.