Bukhari: Highway a Nightmare for Travelers

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Expresses dismay over tardy execution of project

SRINAGAR: Minister for Public Works, Floriculture and Gardens & Parks, Syed Mohammad Altaf Bukhari Wednesday directed the executing agency (Navayuga Engineering Company) to accelerate pace of work on Qazigund-Banihal Tunnel and complete the project without any further delay.

Addressing a meeting convened here today to review the pace of work on four-laning of Qazigund-Banihal section of National Highway,  Bukhari called upon the officers to further gear up men and machinery for speedy completion of the ambitious road project, especially the 8.5 KM Qazigund-Banihal tunnel that is witnessing slow pace of work.

The meeting was attended by Development Commissioner Works J&K Tehsin Mustafa, Chief Engineer R&B Kashmir, S K Razdan, Vinay Jain, chief liaison officer Navayuga Engineering Company and other senior officers of the department.

The Minister asked the executing agency Navayuga Engineering Company to increase its work hours for timely completion of the tunnel project. During the course of meeting, the executing agency attributed the slow pace of work to certain issues and sought the government’s intervention for their early resolution.  

Taking strong note of the delay caused in completion of work on pending 3.5 KM tunnel, the Minister directed the Development Commissioner Works to go for spot inspection and take stock of issues and sort them out at the earliest.

The Minister asked the development commissioner works to put the ambitious project on a fast-track and resolve all issues to ensure completion of targets on schedule. The development commissioner works was further directed to coordinate with the deputy commissioner Ramban and other concerned officers so that the pending project work is not hampered anymore.

The Minister also took serious note of the dilapidated condition of the existing stretch from Qazigund to Banihal section of National Highway-1A and asked the Navayuga Engineering Company to accelerate improvement work on this stretch. During the course of meeting, Mr. Vinay Jain, chief liaison officer of the Navayuga Engineering Company said that the work on Banihal-Qazigund Tunnel is in progress and is likely to meet its deadline.

Bukhari observed that the present highway has become a nightmare for passengers particularly during winter months as the frequent landslides and avalanches block the only road link of Kashmir with outside world for days. He said the present government is committed to make the highway motorable even during harsh winter or at the height of monsoon. “This dream can be realized after the completion of two twin tunnels being built on the NH-1A, which connects Jammu with Srinagar. The tunnels will reduce the distance thus lessening the travel time,” Bukhari observed adding that the tunnels will not only make the journey less risky, but will also help boost tourism in the state.

The Minister directed the executing agency to accelerate the pace of work on the entire road stretch from Qazigund to Banihal so that the vital road link is maintained and public grievances are redressed. The Minister also directed the senior officers of Public Works Department to monitor the progress on improvement work to be carried out by executing agency and report to the Government accordingly.

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