The Prime Minister’s Office will Friday review the progress of four-laning of Srinagar-Jammu Highway.
Highly placed sources told us that Principal Secretary to Prime Minister, Nripendra Misra, has convened a high-level meeting in New Delhi to discuss the project which has been marred by delays.
Besides top officials in PMO, the meeting is expected to be attended by representatives of National Highways Authority of India, Union Ministry of Road Transport and Highways and JK Government.
While participation of JK’s Chief Secretary Muhammad Iqbal Khanday is uncertain due to the state cabinet meeting scheduled on Friday here at 10 a.m, the state is likely to be represented by Commissioner Secretary Roads & Buildings, Rohit Kansal.
Minister for Roads and Buildings, Syed Altaf Bukhari, confirmed that PMO is reviewing the progress of the project.
He said the state government would push for fast-track completion of the project. “The speedy completion of the project is among the top priorities of the government,” he said.
Earlier, Chief Minister Mufti Muhammad Sayeed had raised concerns about the slow pace of four-laning and poor maintenance of the existing highway during his meeting with Union Roads Minister Nitin Gadkari on April 29.
NHAI blames land acquisition problems, shifting of utilities and inadequate mobilization of resources by the concessionaire for the delay.
The National Highways Authority of India has often faced brickbats for poor implementation of the project. The 4-laning of the highway is being taken up in six sub-projects. While four-laning of Srinagar-Banihal, Qazigund-Banihal, Chenani-Nashri and Jammu-Udhampur is underway, the work on remaining two projects—Ramban-Banihal and Udhampur-Ramban—is yet to start.
The physical progress recorded on Srinagar-Qazigund and Qazigund-Banihal portions is dismal.
On January 20 this year, Union Home Ministry had held a high-level meeting in New Delhi to review the progress of the work. On March 30 this year, the state government had constituted a high-level committee to monitor pace of the project. The committee headed by R&B Minister comprises of top bureaucrats and representatives of NHAI.