NHAI likely to drop move to fourlane Pathankot-Mandi, Matour-Shimla roads


The National Highways Authority of India (NHAI) is likely to drop the proposal to fourlane the Pathankot-Mandi national highway and Matour-Shimla highway.

The issue is coming up for discussion at a meeting of the NHAI in which all MPs of Himachal have been invited. The meeting will be held in Delhi today.

The NHAI is now proposing that instead of fourlane, the highways should be constructed only as two-lane roads and has proposed 10-metre width of the roads, highly placed sources told The Tribune.

The foundation stones for the fourlaning of the highways were laid by Union Minister for Surface Transport Nitin Gadkari before the last parliamentary elections.

However, now the NHAI is maintaining that it is not viable. Highly placed officials of the NHAI told The Tribune that the reason for dropping the proposal was high cost of land and low traffic.

A official said the circle rate of land to be acquired by the NHAI in some areas of Nurpur had been fixed at around Rs 9.5 crore per acre. “We paid Rs 3.5 crore per acre even near big cities like Jalandhar. The rate fixed in Himachal is abnormally high. We have also taken up the matter with the Himachal Government,” a senior official of the NHAI said. Besides, the traffic survey of the roads carried out by the NHAI had also revealed that fourlaning would not be viable.

Kishan Kapoor, BJP MP from Kangra, admitted that a meeting of the NHAI to take a decision on the Pathankot-Mandi and Matour-Shimla highways was scheduled for tomorrow. When asked if the proposal to fourlane the roads would be dropped, he said let the NHAI come up with its proposal, only then they would decide.

The projects have been hanging fire as the decision has not been taken. As decision is being delayed, the condition of roads is also deteriorating at many places.

Former Congress MLA from Nurpur Ajay Mahajan said the government should take the decision at the earliest. The people, who have their lands along the roads, could not use these for the past more than two years since the announcement regarding fourlaning of the roads was made the minister.

The reasons

  • High cost of land and low traffic make it unviable
  • Cost of per acre land is Rs 9.5 crore in Nurpur
  • NHAI to propose to widen road by just 10 metre

Source : The Tribune

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