NEW DELHI: Union road transport minister Nitin Gadkari on Monday announced the widening of 110 km of NH between Khanabal and Panchtarni in Jammu & Kashmir, which will drastically reduce the travel time of pilgrims to reach the holy Amarnath shrine from Srinagar.
Announcing the decision during his visit to Jammu & Kashmir, the minister said a 5-km concrete footpath will be constructed from Panchtarni to Amarnath shrine for pilgrims. He added there will be barricades on both sides for security purposes.
“We will spend around Rs 5,300 crore on the widening of the 110 km existing highway from Khanabal to Chandanwadi and then Chandanwadi to Baltal via Panchtarni. There will be a 10 km tunnel between Seshnag and Panchtarani, which will help pilgrims avoid any risk of snowfall. The detailed projectreport will be prepared for this project,” Gadkari said.
Gadkari also announced the construction of a new 9-km ropeway from Baltal to Amarnath with an investment of Rs 750 crore. The tenders for theproject will be out in November. He added that another Rs 125 crore ropeway project will be taken up connecting Pahalgam with Baisaranto promote tourism. This will also be bid out by November.
Gadkari also said that the work for a 2-km ropeway to the pilgrim site at Shivkhedi in Jammu will start in May this year. The Rs 175 crore work has been awarded and another project to provide ropeway connectivity to Shankaracharya temple in Srinagar at Rs 60 crore will be bid out in July.
The minister also announced the government’s approval of developing the 60-km long Mughal Road, which connects Poonch district in Jammu with Shopian in Kashmir. The stretch will be widened at a cost of Rs 6,842 crore.