Connectivity JK’s biggest challenge: Naeem Akhtar

Rs 42000 Cr PMDP allocation to give push to connectivity; Ring Roads taken up in Jammu, Srinagar; 4056 km road length macadamized in 2017-18

JK News Today

JAMMU, JANUARY 22: Stressing the need for expanding inter and intra-state connectivity, Minister for Public Works, Naeem Akhtar today said ironically even after 70 years of independence, connectivity continues to be the biggest challenge for Jammu and Kashmir.

“Kashmir must be 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,” Naeem Akhtar said while winding up the discussion on Demand for Grants of the Public Works and allied Departments in the Legislative Assembly this evening.

He said with the efforts of the previous regimes and the present Government, there is now hope that by the end of this year, there will be improved connectivity between Kashmir and rest of the country with the accomplishment of the upgradation of major portion of Srinagar-Jammu national highway.

He said there are connectivity issues not only between Srinagar and Jammu, but between various sub-regions as well which need to be addressed with focused resolve.

To further boost the connectivity in the State, the Minister said that an allocation of Rs 42000 crore has been earmarked under the Prime Minister’s Development Package (PMDP) for construction of national highways and tunnels in the State. He said the prestigious Chenani-Nashri tunnel has been operationalized and 84 km long Mughal road has also been completed that connects Bufliaz in Jammu province to Shopian in Kashmir province.

He said the Government of India has declared Kargil-Zanskar road, Srinagar-Shopian-Qazigund road and Jammu-Akhnoor-Poonch road as National Highways – NH 301, NH 444 and NH 144 ‑ respectively while as 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.

“The work on Z-Morh tunnel and road from Udhampur to Ramban and Ramban to Banihal are going on in full swing,” the Minister said, adding the Centre has sanctioned special maintenance package of over Rs 95 crore for road projects.

The Minister said the work for preparation of DPRs for realigned portion of Batote-Kishtwar–Sinthan-Khannabal, Chenani-Sudhmahadev-Goha-Khellani including 3.5 km long tunnel at Goha, Sudhmahadev-Goha tunnel and Singhpora-Vailoo tunnel is under process. For construction of tunnel on Mughal road, tender has been floated by NHIDCL for preparation of DPR, he added.

Government is making all out efforts for construction of Sadhna tunnel, four-laning of Srinagar-Baramulla Highway from Baramulla-Kupwara-Sangrama and providing inter-district connectivity through an alternate highway from Ganderbal, Bandipora and Lolab.

Under PM’s package, two ring road projects have been approved for the state at the cumulative cost of 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. DPRs for constructing semi-ring roads around twin cities of Srinagar and Jammu have been prepared, he added.

“The construction of Mughal road reduced the travel distance from Poonch to Srinagar to 175 km, Rajouri to Srinagar to 200 km and Poonch to Srinagar to 135 km,” he said, stressing that the government is making all out efforts to get Mughal road declared as National Highway and construct 8.5 km long tunnel between Zaznar and Chatapani at the estimated cost of Rs 3,500 crore to render an all-weather road connectivity in the region.

The Minister informed that the GoI has approved Phase-XI of Pradhan Mantri Gram SadakYojana (PMGSY) that includes 199 project proposals worth Rs 955.63 crore covering a road length of 1,211.31 km across the state.

Under PMGSY, 131 projects have been completed in 2017-18. The government received Rs 319.375 crore from the Centre, besides one-time special dispensation of Rs 1,287 crore as cost of land acquisition for PMGSY projects, he informed.

Naeem informed the House that Government of India has agreed to sanction projects worth Rs 1200 crore under Central Road Fund (CRF). He said out of 230 sanctioned schemes under the plan, 73 projects have been completed at the cost of Rs 1,048.49 crore and 17 new schemes are targeted to be completed in 2018-19, he stressed.

“The work on prestigious Bhaderwah-Chamba road sanctioned under ISC has been completed,” the Minister said, adding the work is in full swing on 1,210 m span (double lane) pre-stressed bridge over river Ravi at village Keerian Gandialat the estimated cost of Rs 158.84 crore.

Stressing that NABARD has been the main source of funding for the department to build rural infrastructure related to roads and bridges, the Minister informed that 51 projects have been completed in current year while as 11 projects would be completed by March, 2018.

“156 new projects costing Rs 429.14 crore have been recommended for funding under NABARD RIDF XXIII and 109 schemes are targeted to be completed in 2018-19”, he informed.

He informed that Rs 580 crore have been allocated for PWD works under World Bank assistance for Jhelum Tawi Flood Recovery project.

Stressing that the state has witnessed a twofold rise in macadamization of roads during the current fiscal, Minister for Public Works Naeem Akhtar said the government has macadamized a total of 4,056.25 km road length in 2017-18 till November, 2017 including 1,330.02 km in Jammu and 2,726.23 km in Kashmir.

“The government would macadamize a road length of 3,898.12 km in 2018-19 under different schemes”, he added.

Giving details about the works of JKPCC, the Minister said the Corporation is executing about 377 works in the state at the cost of Rs 4,598.42 crore.

The Minister said the Corporation constructed Pushwara bridge in Anantnag, Manzgam-Panzgam Bridge and Meelyal Bridge in Kupwara, Pedestrain Bridge in Rajbagh, Polytechnic Colleges in Reasi, Samba and Kathua and other projects in the state. It would complete 30 bridges/roads and more than 27 buildings of different departments in 2018-19, he added.

Informing that about 6000 km road length and 600 bridges were damaged in 2014 floods, the Minister said the government launched a massive programme to improve riding surface of roads.

The government spent Rs 1,220 crore (Rs 623.66 crore in Kashmir and Rs 596.34 crore in Jammu) on this programme in 2015-16, 2016-17 and 2017-18 till November 2017 and cleared a liability of Rs 200 crore this year, he added.

The Minister said 511 bridges are under construction in the state and 18 bridges have been completed in current year while as 26 bridges are expected to be completed during next fiscal. He informed that 204 bridges, 117 in Jammu and 87 in Kashmir, are targeted to be completed upto 2019-20.

Under ‘Prime Minister’s package for flood damaged infrastructure’, the Minister said the work on 166 bridges has been completed while as 18 bridges would be completed by March, 2018, he added.

Listing new initiatives taken by the department, the Minister said social media has been used for line tracking of different projects, Standard Bidding Document formed to streamline tendering process, comprehensive quality assurance manual finalized and joint ventures have been allowed for participation of small/medium firms and individual participation in bigger projects.

For ensuring quality of road projects, the Minister said Road Safety Audit Cell has been established in the Directorate of Design, Inspections & Quality Control (DIQC) as the nodal agency in the state for engineering aspects of road safety, besides pressing State Quality Monitors (SQMs) on the pattern of PMGSY into service for quality assurance of CRF roads.

Later, the House passed the grants amounting to Rs 289409.37 lakh for Public Works (Roads and Buildings) and allied Departments.

Earlier, several members including Aga Ruhullah, Sat Paul Sharma, GM Saroori, Mohammad Yousuf Bhat, Hakeem Mohammad Yaseen, Yawar Ahmad Mir, Mubarak Gul, Davinder Maniyal, M Y Tarigami, Chowdhary Mohammad Akram, Noor Mohammad Sheikh, Mohammad Shafi Uri, Bashir Ahmad Dar, R S Pathania, Moulvi Abid Hussain Ansari, Mumtaz Ahmad Khan, Choudhary Qamar Hussain, Sheikh Ishfaq Jabbar,  Vikar Rasool Wani, Mohammad Khalil Bandh, Daleep Singh Parihar, Altaf Ahmad Wani, Pawan Gupta, Syed Farooq Andrabi, Mohammad Akbar Lone, Mohammad Amin Bhat, Ali Mohammad Sagar, Asgar Ali Karbalai, Abdul Rahim Rather, Ravinder Raina, Javaid Ahmad Rana, Shah Mohammd Tantray, Shamima Firdous, Raja Manzoor, Abdul Majid Larmi, Deldan Namgyal, Abdul Majid Padder, Abdul Rashid Dar and Usman Abdul Majid participated in the discussion on Demand for Grants of the Public Works and allied Departments.

 HIGHLIGHTS

 

  • 4056.25 km road length macadamized in 2017-18 till Nov 2017-18. Road length of 3898.12 kms to be macadamized in 2018-19
  • GoI approved Phase-XI of PMGSY including 199 projects worth Rs 955.63 crore covering a road length of 1211.31 km
  • Under PMGSY, 131 projects completed in 2017-18, received Rs 319.375 crore from Centre, besides one-time special dispensation of Rs 1287 crore as cost of land acquisition for PMGSY projects
  • GoI agreed to sanction projects worth Rs 1200 crore under CRF
  • Out of 230 sanctioned schemes under CRF, 73 completed at the cost of Rs 1048.49 crore, 17 new schemes targeted to be completed in 2018-19
  • Work on prestigious Bhaderwah-Chamba road sanctioned under ISC completed
  • Under NABARD, 51 projects completed in current year, 11 projects to be completed by March, 2018
  • 156 new projects costing Rs 429.14 crore recommended for funding under NABARD RIDF XXIII, 109 schemes targeted to be completed in 2018-19
  • GoI declared Kargil-Zanskar road, Srinagar-Shopian-Qazigund road and Jammu-Akhnoor-Poonch road as National Highways – NH 301, NH 444 and NH 144 respectively
  • Principle approval accorded for declaring Dinga Amb-Challan-Udhampur road, Lakhanpur-Mahanpur-Basohli-Dunera road and Basohli-Bhaderwah-Doda road as National Highway
  • Work on Z-Morh tunnel, road from Udhampur to Ramban and Ramban to Banihal going on in full swing, Centre also sanctioned special maintenance package of over Rs 95 crore for road projects
  • For construction of tunnel on Mughal road, tender floated by NHIDCL for preparation of DPR
  • Efforts on for construction of Sadhna tunnel, four-laning of Srinagar-Baramulla Highway and providing inter-district connectivity through an alternate highway from Ganderbal, Bandipora and Lolab
  • Under PMDP, 2 ring roads approved each in Srinagar and Jammu at the cost of Rs 2,201 crore and Rs 2,097 crore respectively
  • Efforts on for declaration of Mughal Road as National Highway and construction of 8.5 km long tunnel between Zaznar and Chatapani at an estimated cost of Rs 3,500 crore
  • Rs 580 crore allocated to PWD under World Bank assistance for Jhelum Tawi Flood Recovery project
  • JKPCC executing about 377 works at the cost of Rs 4,598.42 crore
  • JKPCC to complete 30 bridges/roads and more than 27 buildings of different departments in 2018-19
  • Govt spent Rs 1,220 crore on restoring roads, bridges damaged in 2014 floods
  • 511 bridges under construction, 18 bridges completed in current year while as 26 bridges expected to be completed during next fiscal
  • Under PMs package for flood damaged infrastructure, work on 166 bridges completed while as 18 bridges to be completed by March, 2018

 

New Initiatives

 

–         95% contracts worth Rs 1000 crore allotted after specific timelines were notified to avoid unnecessary delay in execution of projects

 

–         Bidders given option to use the space along with the IT infrastructure in the field offices (R&B Divisions) for e-tendering process.

 

–         PWD devised Standard Bidding Document to streamline tendering process by making various clauses more comprehensive and elaborate to avoid interpretation issues thus reducing subsequent litigations.

 

–         Small turnover contractors facilitated to develop capacities and boost local entrepreneurship and self employment by enhancing the bidding capacity Multiplication factor ‘M’ from 2 to 2.5

 

–         To boost performance, contractors who perform well continuously would be awarded by increasing their ‘M’ value upto ’3’.

 

–         Average turnover for capacity calculation to be average of any of the 3 years out of the last 5 years

 

–         Average similar nature work requirement pegged at 33% for less than Rs 40 cr works and 40% for more than Rs 40 cr works.

 

–         Trying to address the issue of unavailability of raw material in far flung areas in a mission mode by providing all kinds of support to the entrepreneurs desiring to establish, stone crushers, hot mix plants in rural areas

 

–         Allowed Joint Ventures to assure collaborative participation of small and medium firms/individual participants for bigger projects, while simultaneously furthering their capacity, capability and strengths

 

–         For Bituminous Works the bidding capacity of the Hot-mix plant owners linked with the Capacity to Pave within the working season rather than just owning a Hot-mix plant.

 

–         It has been observed that working season for the BT works is quite restricted in the State especially in the colder areas which makes the capacity to pave in this short period as the real bottleneck for completion of works.

 

–         Decided to take into consideration the machinery to take into consideration from the next seasons along with a working schedule of the contractors bidding for multiple BT works so that no BT work which is tendered or left incomplete due to weather conditions.

 

–         The government intends to have zero tolerance on Quality aspect of the government works

 

–         Social media being used profusely for online tracking of different projects and taking ground level feedback from the actual stakeholders/public of the area

 

–          Any reports of deviance are immediately responded by on-the-spot inspections and punitive actions against the culprits

 

–          State Quality Monitors (SQMs) on the pattern of PMGSY have been pressed into service for quality assurance and management of ongoing CRF schemes

 

–          Department has finalized comprehensive Quality Assurance Manual (QAM) that is the part of the Standard Bidding Document.

 

–         For contracts above a certain value (Rs 10 Cr to begin with), the bidder shall have to give a mandatory Quality Management Programme (QMP) based on QAM. These QMPs shall be linked with the payments to the contractors.

 

–         The department shall be coming out with an annual schedule of trainings of various types for its filed functionaries including in-house capacity building as well as trainings by professional institutions.

 

–         The department shall allow in-service diploma holders to get admission through lateral entry into the Engineering Institutions in the State or any Government Institute outside the State.

 

–         Union Ministry of Road, Transport and Highways train JK Youth in different skills with special emphasis on Tunnelling technology thus increasing their employability potential at a global level.

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