Nitin Gadkari ,Union Minister of Road Transport and Highways and Jammu and Kashmir LG Manoj Sinha on Monday laid the foundation stones for four National Highway projects worth Rs 3,612 crore in the Union Territory, including the commencement of the Srinagar Ring road project.
Speaking on the occasion, Nitin Gadkari termed road connectivity as a key driver of the socio-economic growth and development of any region. The new projects will strengthen road connectivity in Jammu and Kashmir, opening up new livelihood opportunities for the people. It will also enhance tourism and business activities and overall, improve the quality of life of the people, he added.
“The long-pending prestigious Srinagar Ring Road project would be completed by end of 2023. Besides, the work on Srinagar-Jammu National Highway would be completed in next two to three years, bringing in much respite for the people of the UT,” the Union Minister mentioned.
Gadkari said the Mega Highway road and tunnel projects will reduce the travel time from Delhi to Kashmir to eight hours in coming years. He also advocated introducing eco-friendly measures in the transport sector.
Jammu and Kashmir Lt Governor Manoj Sinha noted that the UT has undergone tremendous changes in terms of infrastructure development during the last few years and the new projects will further drive overall socio-economic development.
“Till 2014, there were only seven National Highways in the erstwhile Jammu and Kashmir including Ladakh. In 2021, the number of National Highways has increased to 11 in J&K alone. In 2015, PM had announced road infra projects worth Rs 40,900 crores for J&K, out of which work on projects of about Rs 38,000 crores is already underway,” he said.
The LG also added that by December 2022, Kashmir will be connected to Kanyakumari by train.
The four new National Highway projects include strengthening and upgradation of 43 km existing carriageway on Baramulla-Gulmarg section of NH-701A, construction of new double lane bypass from Donipawa via Ashajipora connecting NH-244 & NH-44, construction and upgradation of existing 28 km stretch from Vailoo to Donipawa on Khellani Khanabal section of NH-244, besides the construction of much-awaited Ring Road around Srinagar city.
General (Retd) VK Singh, Union Minister of State for Road Transport and Highways, and J&K MP Dr Farooq Abdullah were also present for the foundation stone-laying ceremony.