Union information and broadcasting minister Manish Tewari on Thursday met the Union minister of road transport and highways Oscar Fernandes and sought early completion of the six laning of the Jalandhar-Panipat highway, which has been unduly delayed for a long time due to unexplained reasons.
Tewari also sought an elevated bridge at the Mullanpur Market to ensure that the market functioned smoothly. He led a delegation from Ludhiana to meet Fernandes in his office and made a strong case for constructing an elevated road in the Mullanpur Market.
He said, in case the existing bridge is constructed, which is on a single span, it will lead to the closure of about 75 per cent of the market. He said that Mullanpur is an important market surrounded by scores of villages. It will not only mean closure of an important trading centre in the area but also lot of unemployment.
Referring to the continuous and unexplained delay in the completion of the six-laning of the National Highway between Jalandhar and Panipat, Tewari said, it has been causing lot of harassment to thousands of commuters from the states of Punjab, Haryana, Himachal Pradesh, and Jammu and Kashmir.
The minister expressed surprise that when the work on the highway has remained suspended for over a year now, the Soma-Isolux, the company which has been awarded the contract for the project project, has raised the toll-tax and has been raising it quite regularly. This has really infuriated the public, he said, while pointing out; this is unjustified and simply amounts to extortion.
Tewari said, only last month a bus fell into a canal leading to death of all the passengers traveling in it and the accident was caused because of the incomplete road. He said that several accidents are caused just because of the poor condition of the roads and onus for which lies on the construction company.
The minister strongly urged Fernandes to ensure that a final deadline is fixed for the completion of the six-laning project. He said, actually there should be no toll tax till the work remains suspended and instead the company is regularly increasing the tax, which is unacceptable.
Fernandes appreciated the concern of Tewari and other delegation members and assured that he will look into the matter on urgent priority.
The delegation included district Congress president Pawan Dewan, Paramjeet Singh Ghawaddi, Teluram Bansal, Baldev Raj, Amarjeet Joshi, Virender Singh, Vinay Kumar Verma, Ravinder Singh, Ashish Khurana and Harvinder Singh.