Railway gates have been installed in major projects of National Highway. Due to continuous delay in clearance from the railways, the work of converting the national highway into four laning is getting stuck.
The major projects that NHAI had planned to start in January and complete in 2026 have now been delayed by almost a month.
The biggest bottleneck is coming on the Pathankot-Mandi, Shimla-Mataur and Kalka-Shimla National Highways.
About four projects of these two have been proposed by NHAI for Fourlane. Of these, three are in Pathankot-Mandi, while one is on the last stretch of the Kalka-Shimla National Highway.
Four laning is to be constructed from Kanthlighat to Dhalli in this project. Recently, the Forest and Environment Department of the Central Government has returned the files of the National Highway project and has issued instructions to make necessary improvements in them.
In view of this, the National Highway is now preparing to send these files again for approval with corrections. However, apart from land acquisition, the biggest hurdle is the approval of the railways.
At Kanthlighat, the railway track is passing near the National Highway, while on a large part of the Pathankot-Mandi National Highway, the railway line is coming repeatedly and due to this the four laning work is stuck.
On the other hand, Principal Chief Conservator of Forests Ajay Srivastava told that whatever files of the National Highway had reached the Forest Department, they have been sent to the Central Environment and Forest Department.
The arrival of files regarding forest clearance is a part of the regular process. The final approval will come through the Central Government only.
NHAI regional officer Abdul Basit said that the work of converting the National Highway into four-lane is going on. The documents have been sent to the department and the government. Work will start as soon as approval is given. (hdm)
Work Underway on Five National Highways in Himachal
In the state, work is underway to convert the portion of Kalka-Shimla National Highway from Kanthlighat to Dhalli as well as four-laning of Shimla-Mataur, Pathankot-Mandi, Kiratpur-Manali and Pinjore-Nalagarh National Highways.
Of these, NHAI is not facing much difficulty in the construction of Kiratpur-Manali and Pinjore-Nalagarh National Highways, while the construction between Shimla-Mataur, Pathankot-Mandi and Kanthlighat-Dhali is getting stuck.
About eight project files are in the forest clearance, but after registering objections, the Environment and Forest Department sent these files back.
No Need to go to Supreme Court
It is believed that if the environment and forest department approves the four-lane project to be built in the state, then the work will start. Actually, NHAI has got a big relief from the Supreme Court.
All the big projects in Himachal, in which NHAI is working, do not require approval from the Supreme Court. The Supreme Court had given this big relief on the petition of NHAI last year.
NHAI had filed a petition in the Supreme Court for relief citing delay in the project. The Supreme Court has approved this.