Himachal Pradesh chief minister Sukhvinder Singh Sukhu has urged the National Highway Authority of India (NHAI) to expedite the lane-extension projects underway in the state.
CM Sukh was chairing a review meeting with officials of NHAI to take stock of ongoing works, and discuss the implementation of other important projects, in Shimla on Thursday.
“Strengthening road connectivity is our top priority. The detailed project reports (DPR) of the Pathankot-Mandi four-laning road project and Hamirpur bypass should be prepared soon,” said Sukhu.
Reportedly, the NHAI has been tasked with four-laning the road from Shimla to Matour at a cost of ₹10,000 crores and four-laning of the road between Pathankot and Mandi at a cost ₹12,000 crores.
He also said that the Himachal government will provide support to the NHAI to complete projects in a time-bound manner. “The government will provide full cooperation to NHAI. We’ve simplified various procedures for clearances and have fixed a timeline for the completion of projects.”
The chief minister also said that the process to provide compensation for the acquired land for these projects has been expedited. “Necessary instructions have been issued to the concerned authorities to speed up the process of land acquisition,” said Sukhu.
He also urged for cooperation for the construction of the ropeways projects of Himani Chamunda and Bijli Mahadev temple towns.
Moreover, the NHAI will present a concept paper on the prevention of ecological disasters caused by the expansion of roads in the state. An amount of ₹300 crores has been allocated for research and development purposes focussing on minimising the risk of landslides.
CM Sukhu further stated that the road-widening projects will boost tourism in the state. He said, “The footfall of tourists will increase due to better road connectivity. The government has decided to develop Kangra as a tourism capital and the Pathankot-Mandi and Shimla-Mataur four-laning will prove beneficial to achieve that goal.”
He also instructed NHAI to make ample provisions for EV charging points along the 4-lane highway. “There should be provision for charging stations at intervals for electric vehicles in the Pathankot-Mandi and Shimla-Mataur four-lane road projects.”