Excavation likely within one and a half months, land acquisition almost complete
A few days after Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s assertions to “emotionally and physically” connect Kashmir with the rest of the country, the J&K Government has decided to expedite the work on the Banihal-Qazigund road tunnel to complete another mega project of “integration”.
The work on the Banihal-Qazigund road tunnel, which is a part of the National Highways Authority of India’s (NHAI) flagship project of four-laning the Jammu-Srinagar national highway, is not going on the expected speed due some local issues. Now, the government has decided to speed up the work on the project to achieve another milestone in bringing Kashmir further close to other states of the country.
Official sources said a deadline had been fixed to complete the excavating work of the 8.45 km-long tunnel. “The excavating work will be completed within one and half months,” a source said, adding that the local authorities had been asked to complete the process of land acquisition, compensation and clearance from the Forest Department to complete the 36-km stretch of the Ramban-Banihal road.
Union Surface Road Transport, Highways and Shipping Nitin Gadhari assured people in Udhampur on Sunday that before August 15, 2018, the distance of the Jammu-Srinagar national highway would be further reduced. He said the distance would be covered in four hours after the completion of the highway as compared to the present time of nearly 8 to 10 hours.
Ramban Deputy Commissioner Mohammad Aijaz told Kashmir Post that the acquisition process of land had almost completed. “Our job is to provide land to the executing agency,” he said.
While inaugurating the Chenani-Nashri tunnel on Sunday, the Prime Minister said, “This tunnel is not just a physical connection between Jammu and Kashmir, but also a giant leap for the state’s development. This will be Kashmir’s Bhagyarekha (line of good luck).” The Prime Minister had said the tunnel would bring people of Kashmir closer to the nation, adding that it was not only a network of roads but of hearts too.