Presiding over a meeting of senior officers of the National Highways Authority of India in Shimla on Tuesday, chief minister Sukhvinder Singh Sukhu asked them to expedite the restoration works of national highways damaged due to the torrential rains and landslides in the state.
The chief minister emphasised on construction of three major tunnels in the state. He said that Ghatasani-Shilh-Budhani-Bhubhu Jot tunnel should be constructed to connect Kangra with Kullu. He said it will decrease the distance between Kangra and Kullu by 55 km, adding that it will help promote tourism in the region.
He said that Chowari-Chamba tunnel in Chamba district and a tunnel from Bhawa valley to Pin valley are of paramount importance as they will provide all-weather connectivity to the areas.
He said that Mandi-Manali four-lane had suffered heavy damage, especially near Pandoh. He asked NHAI to deploy extra manpower and officials at vulnerable points on this project to ensure quick restoration work.
He said that temporary refurbishment work should be completed by October 15, before the world famous Kullu Dussehra. He added that a tunnel under Kainchi Maur in Mandi district can be planned to address the issue permanently.
The chief minister said that the onus is on the state government to ensure that that farmers can transport their produce as apple season is on its peak. After the apple season, potato crop will be ready in Lahaul and immediate action is needed to ensure restoration of road connectivity.
The CM asked NHAI to speed up the construction work of Shimla-Mataur four-lane as it will benefit eight districts of the state. He said that the state government is promoting tourism and has set a target to increase the number of tourists in the state to five crore per year.
Sukhu took up the issue of damaged Parwanoo-Solan four-lane and said that vertical cutting of slopes should be avoided. He said that NHAI should ensure proper drainage and systems on the highways.
He asked NHAI officials to expedite the restoration work of two bridges damaged in Baddi area of Solan district and said that they are these are important for industrial area of Baddi, Barotiwala and Nalagarh. He stressed for converting Nalagarh-Bharatgarh road to a four-lane as it would connect two national highways. He added that the Pathankot-Mandi national highway stretch should be made four-lane in one go to avoid inconvenience to the commuters.
NHAI chairperson Santosh Kumar Yadav, chief parliamentary secretary Sanjay Awasthi, chief secretary Prabodh Saxena, Public Works Department (PWD) principal secretary (PS) Bharat Khera, transport PS RD Nazeem, finance PS Manish Garg, PWD PS Harbans Brascon and NHAI regional officer Abdul Basit attended the meeting.