Srinagar-Qazigund four lane highway to miss another deadline

Seven years on, the four-laning of Srinagar-Qazigund stretch of highway is yet to be completed, officials say it is set to miss December deadline too due to incomplete overhead bridges at various junctions.
Minister for public works Naeem Akhtar earlier this year had stated the four-laning of Srinagar-Qazigund stretch would be completed by December.
However officials state that it would take more than two months to fully make the four laning of Srinagar-Qazigund highway operational. National Highway Authority of India officials say incomplete overhead bridges and land acquisition issues at some places are the reason.
A senior NHAI official who is part of the project said “construction of over bridges at Awantipora and Qazigund are yet to be completed.”
“It would take another two to three months to complete these constructions,” he said adding, “We have opened a few spots like Pampore bypass, Khanbal and Bijebhera.”
The official said first section of nine kilometers of this route from Gallander to Lasjan Bypass was opened in October this year.
As per officials, the issue of land acquisition is hampering the project.
As per the documents, the state government was in need of Rs 86 crore to pay the compensation to the farmers for land acquisition.
The documents reveal that the total amount required to pay for the land acquisition was fixed Rs 391.77 crore of which the NHAI had released Rs 305.62 crore.
It said that Rs 297.50 crore was disbursed so far among the beneficiaries adding a balance of 8.02 crore was lying with the government.
Moreover, the documents reveal the cases of land acquisition were pending at Khrew, Lassipora.
Initially set to be completed by June 2014, the work on the project had been bogged down since its inception in 2011 with concessionaire’s lethargic approach, apart from 2014 floods and the 2016 unrest badly affecting the project.
The project is facing delay even as the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) is watching its pace and the J&K High Court had set July 31, 2016 deadline for its completion.
RAMKY Infrastructure Ltd (RIL), a Hyderabad-based company is executing the project.
However, after missing the set deadline it approached the National Highways Authority of India (NHAI) seeking a 12-month extension for completing the vital stretch and the same was granted.
It may be recalled that chief secretary B B Vyas on Monday expressed dismay over sluggish pace of work on up-gradation of Banihal-Ramban stretch of the Srinagar-Jammu highway. He asked the executing agency to immediately flag the issues hampering the work for their redressal at appropriate levels.
“We can’t afford to drag on this key connectivity project endlessly. Enough time has been already lost and there has to be now tangible movement forward on providing all-weather connectivity to Kashmir with the rest of the country,” Vyas, according to an official spokesman, told the executing agency officials during his spot visit to the project site on Monday.
Pertinently, the four-laning project of Srinagar-Jammu highway has been divided into six sub-projects, which include widening of Srinagar Qazigund road (67.7 km), Qazigund-Banihal road (15.25 km), Banihal-Ramban road (36 km), Ramban-Udhampur road (43 km), Chenani-Nashri (9.2 km) and Jammu-Udhampur (65 km).