Centre approves Rs 780 cr for major bridges, roads in J&K

Union Ministry for Roads and Surface Transport has released Rs 780 crores for Jammu and Kashmir Government for construction of bridges and roads in all three regions of the State including another bridge worth Rs 206 crores over river Chenab in Akhnoor tehsil.
The Union Ministry, headed by BJP leader Nitin Gadkari, has exclusively marked Rs 100 crores for Ladakh region including Rs 50 crores each for major roads of Leh and Kargil districts.
Official sources told the Excelsior that the Central Ministry has approved a total of 25 bridges and road projects for Jammu and Kashmir at the cost of Rs 780 crores. The amount has been released from the grants marked for current financial year of 2015-16 under the Central Road Fund (CRF) and more grants would pour in during the next financial year of 2016-17.
“The Union Roads and Surface Transport Ministry has conveyed its clearance to the State Government for going ahead with a total of 25 projects under the CRF this year. Though a little less than two months were left for the current financial year of 2015-16, the funds under the CRF are non-lapsable and will continue till all 25 projects are completed,” sources said.
Among the major projects approved by the Central Government were another bridge over river Chenab at Indri Pattan in Akhnoor tehsil at the cost of Rs 206 crores. The bridge will have a length of 2000 meters (two kilometers). This will be third bridge over river Chenab in Akhnoor, which is strategically very significant for the people of entire Akhnoor tehsil as well as the troops in view of International Border (IB) and Line of Control (LoC) with Pakistan.
The bridge, according to sources, will reduce distance between Pargwal and Jammu by at least 25 kilometers and will help thousands of people living across river Chenab.
Presently, there are two major bridges over river Chenab in Akhnoor-the Steel Bridge and Main Bridge, which connect Akhnoor and areas beyond it with Jammu.
“The construction of this bridge was long pending demand of the people of Pargwal and surrounding areas of Akhnoor tehsil, which has been met by the Union Government,” sources said, adding that this was the second major bridge approved in Jammu region in less than six months, the first being at Kirian Gandiyal in Kathua district, the foundation stone of which was laid by Gadkari himself.
District Kathua has got another major road under the CRF. Lakhanpur-Thein dam road has been approved for construction at a cost of Rs 43 crores, sources said, adding this road would boost potential of tourism in Kathua district as the State Government was planning water sports, rafting etc in the dam to promote tourism.
The border district of Rajouri has got a road worth Rs 76 crores, which will be constructed from Koteranka to Khwas. Two small bridges in the border district of Rajouri have also been approved under the CRF.
The Kashmir valley has got several road projects under the CRF including three major roads, which were awaiting construction for a long time. They included Khanabal-Pahalgam road at the cost of Rs 48 crores, Bjibehara-Shopian road for Rs 48 crores and Beerwah-Budgam road at the cost of Rs 32 crores among others.
The Union Ministry for Roads and Surface Transport has done equal justice with Ladakh region also. Out of Rs 780 crores worth CRF projects approved from the grants of current financial year, the Ministry has exclusively earmarked Rs 100 crores for the region.
It has approved Rs 50 crores worth road projects each for Leh and Kargil districts including Choglamasar road in Leh at the cost of Rs 20 crores and Draku- Ichhu road in Kargil worth Rs 22 crores.
Sources said the State Government had proposed a total of 85 projects under the CRF for current financial year at the cost of Rs 2500 crores but the Union Ministry has cleared 25 projects at the cost of Rs 780 crores. The Ministry has assured the State that it will take up rest of the projects next financial year.

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