Punjab Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh has sought Union Minister of Transport and Highways Nitin Gadkari’s intervention in expediting approval for connecting the remaining four district headquarters with 4/6 lane National Highways, besides declaration of Khanna-Malerkotla-Raikot-Jagraon-Nakodar as a new National Highway.In a letter to Gadkari, the Chief Minister has drawn his attention to several important issues pending consideration and finalization in the Ministry of Transport & Highways, Government of India (GoI). While he had directed the officers of the State Department of Public Works to coordinate and pursue these issues with the Ministry, the Chief Minister hoped the Minister would personally advise the concerned officers of the Ministry to expedite decision/ finalization on these issues.Pointing out that 18 of the 22 districts of Punjab were already connected with 4/6 lane National Highways, Captain Amarinder said only Ferozepur, Mansa, Sri Muktsar Sahib and Fazilka districts still continue to be connected with 2-lane National Highways. His request for connecting these to 4/6 lane National Highways through approval of 4-laning of Barnala-Mansa section of NH-703 and Dabwali-Malout-Abohar-Fazilka section of NH-10 was pending with the National Highways Authority of India (NHAI), said the Chief Minister, seeking the union minister’s support in the matter.Captain Amarinder also requested that NHAI be directed to speed up the process of upgradation of Talwandi-Ferozepur and Sri Mukatsar Sahib-Malout sections, apart from declaration of Khanna-Malerkotla-Raikot-Jagraon-Nakodar as new National Highway as it connects NH-1 (Now NH-44) No.1 through NH-95 with NH-71. Another important issue raised by the Chief Minister in his letter relates to upgradation of Banga-Garhshankar-Anandpur Sahib-Naina Devi Road as a National Highway, for which the formal notification was still pending even though GoI had given in-principle approval.The Chief Minister has also sought entrustment of the four-laning projects to the State PWD (B&R), which had a dedicated staff to work on implementation of National Highway projects. While the Ministry of Road Transport and Highways, GoI, has, in principle, agreed to approve Annual Plan of National Highway (O) for Rs.1049 crore, only one Rs. 158 crore project has been given the go-ahead in the first phase, Captain Amarinder pointed out, requesting that the remaining DPRs of Rs.418.48 crore submitted to the Ministry in the current financial year may also be approved.He further urged the Ministry to resolve the pending issues related to 4-laning of Ludhiana-Talwandi Bhai section of NH-95 road, for which work was started in March 2012 by the NHAI through the consultant (M/s Essel Infrastructure) on BOT basis but was subsequently stopped. The suspension of work, he said, was causing a lot of inconvenience to the people.
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