Chief minister Virbhadra Singh on Friday urged the union ministry of road transport and highways to declare more roads as national highways in the state and to speed up work on existing projects.
Singh said more roads should be declared national highways on priority basis keeping in view the importance of road connectivity in the state. “Cost of maintenance of roads is extremely high due to tough topographical conditions and snow and monsoon damages,” the chief minister said during his meeting with union road transport minister Nitin Gadkari at New Delhi on Friday.
He also stressed to relax the norms in terms of advance allocation for urgent repair and maintenance of roads in the state. He also took up the issue of expediting work on various national highways already approved in principle for the state.
Singh categorically raised the issue of Shimla-Mataur (Kangra) National Highway-88 for four laning keeping in view the
significance of this highway as it traverses across five districts of the state. He also requested the union minister to expedite the work on the tendering process for Parwanoo-Shimla and Ner Chowk-Manali, four lane roads, being constructed by National Highways Authority of India (NHAI) in the state.
The chief minister said roads were lifeline of people in this hill state as rail network and air connectivity was negligible. He said with a road network of over 33,000 km, support from the ministry of surface transport related only to 1,553 km in terms of national highways.
“There is a great need to consider the demand of state for upgradation of nine identified roads being declared as national highways,” Singh said.
Meanwhile, Gadkari directed the senior officials to expedite the work on issuing pending notification regarding declaration of national highways of state on priority basis.
'Need to restore old Hindustan-Tibet road'
Chief minister Virbhadra Singh also raised the issue of Ambala-Shimla-Kinnaur (NH-22) that has been blocked for the last three months at Tapri-Urni in Kinnaur district. He said there was a need to restore old Hindustan-Tibet road keeping in view the sensitivity of assured road for access to the Indo-China Border area. He requested that the old road which was built during 18th and 19th century be restored.
However, last week, Vidhan Sabha speaker and Kinnaur MLA Jagat Singh Negi had said that it was not possible to widen old Hindustan-Tibet road owing to the settlements along the road.