March 15: Government of India has set 2019 as deadline for completing the four-laning of 36 km Ramban-Banihal section being developed as part of the Jammu-Srinagar Highway widening project.
“The work on the stretch was started in December last year and it will be completed by the year 2019,” Union Minister of Roads, Transport and Highways, Nitin Gadkari, told Rajya Sabha today.
Responding to a question of Member Parliament (MP) from J&K, Shamsher Singh Manhas, Gadkari said that the work for four-laning of the said section has been awarded to M/s Hindustan Construction Company.
“The construction work on the important stretch has started with effect from December 28, 2015, and the completion period for the project has been fixed as 3 years and six months as per the contract agreement,” the Minister informed the House.
The Ramban-Banihal section is part of 79 km Udhampur-Ramban-Banihal stretch on the Jammu-Srinagar highway the foundation stone of which was laid by Prime Minister Narendra Modi on November 7 last year.
An amount of Rs 2136.97 crore has been sanctioned for the Udhampur-Ramban section while Rs 2168.66 crore was approved for the Ramban-Banihal section.
To another question of the MP regarding reasons for delay in awarding the work, the Minister informed that due to poor response from the bidders on Public Private Partnership mode, the project could not be awarded earlier.
He said that after the poor response from bidders, the GoI decided to execute the work as a public funded project.
“Keeping in view the importance of the stretch, Government decided to execute the work as a Public Funded Project. Accordingly, Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs (CCEA) on January 21, 2015, approved the project to be implemented on Engineering Procurement Construction (EPC) mode”, he said.
The Minister also informed that there was no proposal with the government for widening of Akhnoor-Rajouri-Poonch section, adding presently it is with Border Roads Organisation (BRO) for its development & maintenance.
However, the Minister informed that the Jammu-Akhnoor section of the Jammu-Poonch highway has been entrusted to National Highways and Infrastructure Development Corporation Limited (NHIDCL) for its four-laning and maintenance.
Regarding the present status of the said project, the minister said that the NHIDCL had earlier invited the bids for preparation of Detailed Project Report (DPR), but due to ‘unreasonable’ quotes by the bidders, the same were not accepted and now the bids are to be re-invited.
“The construction work of four laning is to be taken up based on the outcome of DPR”, he said.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi had laid the foundation stone of the 79-km Udhampur-Banihal stretch —Ramban-Udhampur road (43-km) and Banihal-Ramban road (36 km) — on the Jammu-Srinagar highway on November 7 last year. The project is being executed at a cost of Rs 4,306 crore.