Jammu, Jan 22 (PTI) Stressing on the need for expanding inter and intra-state connectivity, Jammu and Kashmir Minister Naeem Akhtar today said connectivity continues to be the biggest challenge for the state.
“Kashmir must be the only part of the world today, where people have to switch on the radio in the morning to know about the status of the road connecting them with the outside world,” the public works minister said, winding up a discussion on Demand for Grants of Public Works and allied departments in the Legislative Assembly this evening.
The House passed the grants amounting to Rs 2,894.09 crore for Public Works (Roads and Buildings) and allied departments.
Akhtar said with the efforts of previous dispensations and the present government, there is now a hope that by the end of this year, there would be improved connectivity between Kashmir and rest of the country with the upgradation of major portion of Srinagar-Jammu national highway.
He said there are connectivity issues between various sub-regions as well which need to be addressed.
To boost connectivity in the state, the minister said Rs 42,000 crore has been earmarked under the Prime Minister’s Development Package (PMDP) for construction of national highways and tunnels in the state.
The Chenani-Nashri tunnel has been operationalised and the 84 km-long Mughal Road, that connects Bufliaz in Jammu to Shopian in Kashmir, has also been completed, he said.
Akhtar said the Centre has declared Kargil-Zanskar road, Srinagar-Shopian-Qazigund road and Jammu-Akhnoor-Poonch road as National Highways and in-principle approval has been accorded for declaring Dinga Amb-Challan-Udhampur road, Lakhanpur-Mahanpur-Basohli-Dunera road and Basohli-Bhaderwah- Doda road as national highways.
Under the prime minister’s package, two ring road projects have been approved for the state at the cumulative cost of over Rs 4,000 crore, one in Srinagar at the cost of Rs 2,201 crore and other in Jammu at the cost of Rs 2,097 crore, he said.