In Doda, J&K, a road segment washed away by a cloudburst
In Doda, J&K, a road segment washed away by a cloudburst
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By August 15, NHAI has been instructed to deliver the second tube of the Ramban flyover, and the Banihal bypass would be ready by then.

Jammu, July 21: Although the landslides have continued to impede efficient traffic flow, the gradients of the road at various critical areas between Ramban and Banihal on the Srinagar-Jammu National Highway (NH-44) have been improved.

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This is the consensus among the organizations tasked with maintaining the vital surface connection that connects Kashmir to the rest of the nation.

Although general opinions may differ, even scientists admit that landslides are a concern in one of the world’s youngest and most vulnerable mountains.

And when landslides happen, which are typically a result of weather fluctuations, they exact a price by frequently forcing the closure of NH-44 and frequently resulting in accidents.

Can’t it be minimized or prevented, at the very least?

As a result of the challenges that the general public is experiencing as a result of the frequent closure of the Srinagar–Jammu National Highway, it appears that the administration has identified certain specific actions to concentrate on – minor but effective initiatives till the completion of ongoing NH–44 construction.

However, a key phase still involves concentrating on accelerating the rate of project completion. After all, deadlines allow tasks to be finished more quickly than they otherwise would. According to the official numbers provided by various government officials at various points in time, the project completion rate has increased tenfold during the past two years.

The Chief Secretary Arun Kumar Mehta, who presided over a meeting to assess the state of the Srinagar Jammu National Highway on July 19, gave the executing agencies instructions to “handover the 2nd tube of the Ramban flyover by August 15 and Banihal bypass by the end of this year as committed early this year,” demonstrating the government’s commitment to strict adherence to deadlines.

According to the information provided by the information department in its official handout, the chief secretary had also taken note of the issues, including increasing the gradient of the road between Ramban and Banihal, widening the carriageway at specific locations, designating truck holding areas, and taking strict action against vehicles that move slowly all the time. He also prohibited truck overloading, roadside parking, and, most importantly, strictly enforced lane discipline.

The Chief Secretary emphasized that only 60 km (out of more than 300 km) of the route were two-lanes, so it shouldn’t create a significant bottleneck for efficient traffic management.

According to Ramban Purshotam Kumar, Project Director of NHAI, PIU, the executing agency is working day and night to accomplish this goal in accordance with the Chief Secretary’s directives.

According to the agreement, the Banihal Bypass must be completed by January 2024. It must be finished sooner than that, per instruction. Despite our limitations caused by the whims of the weather, we are working diligently to make it feasible. We are making every effort to meet the timeframes set for us, he claims.

He claims that the Ramban flyover project is nearly finished because only eight slabs remain to be finished.

Regarding a second major concern raised by the experts regarding the requirement for new environmental impact assessments to prevent the frequent closure of NH-44, the government has a line of justification, according to which all projects are carried out following any necessary environmental clearance and in accordance with regulations.

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