In the deep freeze for the past five years owing to shortage of funds, the dream project of deputy chief minister Sukhbir Singh Badal- the four-laning of the 82-km road connecting Ropar-Nawanshahr-Phagwara- has been revived again after it was transferred to the Jalandhar branch of the central public works department.
The department has started proceedings to develop the road with an objective to make commuting from Doaba region to state capital Chandigarh easier.
A meeting between deputy chief minister Sukhbir Badal and union minister of road transport and highways Nitin Gadkari was held in New Delhi last week after which the road was handed over to the Jalandhar branch.
Confirming the development, executive engineer BS Tuli said the road had been transferred to his branch and would be developed as a four-lane road.
He said the road had been declared as National Highway-344 A and was included in the National Highway Development Programme (NHDP).
Tuli said, “We will start the proceedings of issuing notification with regard to land acquisition for the project soon.”
A senior official said that earlier, the National Highway Authority of India (NHAI) had notified Ropar-Nawanshahr- Garhshankar road as National Highway 103-A but after a survey, it was found that heavy vehicular traffic came from Phagwara to Nawanshahr and Ropar.
The official added that this mistake was rectified and Ropar-Nawanshahr-Phagwara road was included in NHDP and declared as National Highway-344 A.
He further said that as the coffers of the state government had dried up and it was difficult for the government to develop a four-lane road, the deputy chief minister had met Gadkari and requested him for funds.
To be funded by Centre
The official revealed that the whole project would be funded by the central government.
According to information available, the state government had announced the project in 2009, calling it the ‘lifeline’ of the Doaba region.
The project was scheduled to commence on many occasions but the proposal kept gathering dust in files in government offices.
The Public Works Department (PWD) had also approached the planning commission in February this year for financial help under the Viability Gap Funding Scheme (VGF) to start the four-laning project after no one responded to their tenders for the same.