‘Even 72 years after Independence, GOI couldn’t give state a descent National Highway’
Srinagar, Jan 27: Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) ahead of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Jammu and Kashmir’s visit has said that before launching new projects, PM should review progress on earlier projects in the state.
“While you promise more and lay more foundation stones, the life in Kashmir hasn’t changed a bit because of connectivity problems. There is a dire need to review the status of those developmental projects that were announced earlier. Unfortunately, majority of them have gone into limbo,”said senior PDP leader and former minister Naeem Akhtar .
According to him, the Jammu -Srinagar national highway remained closed for seven days which is a unique dubious distinction of a state capital and it is not today, it is round the year that that the state capital has to depend on a fair weather Road.
“The momentum built during the past three years has been at present destroyed to the core and now situation is such that most vital projects are being neglected as part of a sinister plan,” said senior PDP leader and former minister Naeem Akhtar .
He stated that the the construction of Zojila Tunnel has been abandoned while as the Jawahar Tunnel on Srinagar Jammu highway is in shambles. Akhtar said that 72 years have passed since Jammu and Kashmir was made to throw its lot with the union but people still wait for the all weather road that could connect the landlocked Kashmir Valley with the outer world. “When Kashmir took a decision to go with India, it closed all its traditional routes and in the bargain we lost access to the rest of the world through our traditional routes . It is worrisome that the condition of the Jammu -Srinagar Highway continues to remain pathetic even after 72 years of Independence.
In 2003 Vajpayee laid the foundation stone of its extension but 16 years have passed and nothing concrete has been achieved. The PDP got around two to three of working with you and in this period, we removed all hassles for the construction of a good and decent highway but central agencies again failed miserably at that time,”Akhtar said, adding that this is the serious restriction on the economic growth of the state and missing the deadlines has become a norm.
The Former Minister said that the PDP government had with the central government discussed in detail the need of tunnelling between Ramban and Banihal section so that vehicular movement on the highway remains uninterrupted and smooth even during the inclement weather. Though the proposal was agreed by the central government but not carried forward, Akhtar said.
Also, according to him, PDP led Government emphasised for the construction of a tunnel on Mughal road in order to make it an all weather road. Though, said Akhtar, the issue was discussed at threadbare with the central government and was also agreed but no forward movement was witnessed. He added that Wailoo tunnel was agreed to be built but the plan at present remains on paper only.
Furthermore, Akhar said tenders were fixed for the Ring Road and land acquisition for the purpose was in the last stage at time when popular government was toppled in the state last year. “However, unfortunately, all the progress made for the project has been undone under the Governor’s rule. The National Highway 444 between Pampore and Qazigund via Shopian and Pulwama was downgraded but even in that downgraded form, no action has been taken so far. Similarly, Four-laning of Baramulla- Srinagar Road stands approved but no action has been taken so far on ground.
Akhtar urged the Prime Minister that while laying foundation stones of the new projects, fate of those vital developmental projects that have gone into limbo should also be checked.