Govt To Finalize Mughal Road By Sep 201127 November 2010
Jammu: The ambitious Mughal road project is failing to meet yet another deadline. Earlier the road was to be completed in March 2011, but now it is likely to be thrown open for vehicular traffic in September 2011. The officials attribute the delay to the unprecedented rainfall and the disturbance in Kashmir valley this summer. “Most probably we will be opening the Mughal road for full vehicular traffic in September 2011. Due to the unrest in Kashmir and unprecedented rains, the work on the project could not be executed and the earlier deadline of March 2011 could not be met,” Meanwhile, the heavy downpour, according to sources, led to emergence of several major landslide zones on the historic road between Poonch and Shopian district. “Engineers of the State Government and Hindustan Construction Corporation (HCC) have identified nearly 35 such spots where stabilization of sliding rocks is imperative for preventing frequent damages to the road,” sources aid. The sources added there are five major landslide zones of 60 meters to 300 meters wide between Shopian and Peer Ki Gali. 'The situation from Bufliaz towards Peer Ki Gali is worst as there are major as well as minor sliding zones after almost every kilometer. From Bufliaz onwards, there are around 30 sliding zones up to the milestone of kilometer 34,” they said. Keeping in view the number of landslide zones particularly the major ones, the concerned engineers of the state government some months back decided to seek opinion of the experts so that a comprehensive strategy could be framed for starting rock-stabilization works, which is imperative for preventing frequent closure of historic road during rainy season, sources said. Accordingly, Soil Conservation and Geology and Mining Departments and National Institute of Technology (NIT) Srinagar were formally requested to depute their experts for carrying out detailed study and recommending measures for stabilization of sliding rocks. However, Minister of State for R & B said the government has not received any such study as of now. He added that experts from Delhi are being invited to study the rock sliding and avalanche prone areas on the road. “The experts will help the government in devising policy and strategy is making the road danger free,” he said. Minister of State for Roads and Buildings, Javaid Ahmad Dar told Rising Kashmir. He added that the road will be developed as a major tourist destination. The all-weather road will provide alternate link between the valley and rest of India. The construction of the road was conceived in 1969 and further execution of the project took place in 1977. But after the completion of a 30-kilometer stretch, construction work was stopped. In 1998, Prime Minister I K Gujral announced construction of the road, but in 2006 all activity was halted when a non-governmental organisation filed a petition against the construction, arguing that it would prove detrimental to habitat of wild animals in the region. It was only in 2007 that Supreme Court gave a conditional permission of go ahead with the construction. The total estimated cost of the project is Rs 635 crore, out of which Rs 3.47 crore have been spent as of now. The road from Rajouri to Shopian comprises of seven major bridges and 244 minor bridges, out of which majority of the bridges have been completed.