Srinagar- The work on Delhi-Amritsar-Katra Expressway is going on in full swing and the travel time between the national capital New Delhi and Kashmir is likely to be reduced to just eight hours.
“The Delhi-Amritsar-Katra Expressway is expected to become operational by March 2024. The work on Katra-Jammu highway will be completed in 2025”, said a senior official of the National Highway Authority of India (NHAI).
“The expressway will facilitate travelers to reach Katra from Delhi within six hours, reducing the distance from 727 km to 588 km”, P Siva Shanker, Regional Officer NHAI, J&K Region, told Kashmir Observer.
He said that the expressway will also reduce the distance between Delhi-Amritsar and Delhi-Chandigarh by half.
However an official from the NHAI said that the project is currently facing land acquisition hurdles in Punjab where farmers are seeking higher compensation for their farm land. Nearly 14,000 acres of land will be acquired from Punjab and 5,000 acres from Haryana.
Earlier, Union Transport and Highways Minister Nitin Gadkari has said that work is underway on the Delhi-Amritsar-Katra Expressway. The work on Srinagar-Jammu National Highway (NH 44) will be completed by 2024.
He further said the government is constructing road projects at a cost of Rs 1.25 lakh crore in J&K.
Then, it will be possible to reach Srinagar from Delhi in just 8 hours. The foundation stone of the expressway was laid by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in August 2022 and it will cost around Rs 35,000 crore.
The 620 km long Delhi-Amritsar-Katra Expressway will connect Delhi, Haryana, Punjab, and Jammu & Kashmir. Further, it will be connected to NH-44 to provide seamless connectivity till Srinagar.
Sources said Phase II will connect Gurdaspur – Pathankot – Jammu – Katra and will be a brownfield expansion of the existing NH-54 (old NH-15) and NH-44 (old NH-1) highway.
Notably, due to traffic or weather issues Kashmir valley remains cut-off from the world during rain or snowfall which hampers road and air connectivity.
Post abrogation of Article 370, the central government has initiated many projects including rail to connect Kashmir valley with the rest of India in all the seasons.
The tourist footfall also slows down during winters as the Jammu-Srinagar national high remains shut due to landslides.
“There will be a four-fold rise in the footfall of tourists in Kashmir after the completion of the Delhi-Jammu-Srinagar highway”, Union Minister Nitin Gadkari told reporters earlier.
An official said that various companies are currently working tirelessly to accelerate the construction of this monumental expressway.
“The objective is to complete the section of the highway leading to Jammu by May 2024, with the Katra segment expected to be ready by June 2025,” he said.
He further said that the expressway will also connect to another important road called NH-44, which goes from Srinagar to Jammu. “They will also make the road between Rajbagh and Dayala Chakk wider and develop its 6-lane corridor,” he said.
The Delhi-Amritsar-Katra Expressway is not just about efficient travel; it also aims to make visiting significant religious sites more convenient. “Travelers will find amenities such as eateries, bus stops, truck rest areas, entertainment facilities, medical centres for emergencies, police stations, fire departments, and ambulance services along the route. This holistic approach ensures a safe and comfortable journey for both tourists and travelers alike,” the official said.
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