Reliable road connectivity is imperative for strengthening the bond between the regions and people: Altaf Bukhari


Jammu, April 11 : Apni Party President Syed Mohammad Altaf Bukhari on Tuesday emphasized the need for improved road connectivity between the different regions of Jammu and Kashmir and said that such connectivity is vital to fostering stronger bonds among the people from different regions and creating new avenues for economic growth and development.

Mr. Bukhari made these remarks while addressing a packed press conference at the party office in Gandhi Nagar, Jammu today.

He expressed his gratitude to Nitin Jairam Gadkari, the Union Minister for Road Transport & Highways (MorTH), and praised him for his dedication to building a strong network of roads and highways to connect India from Kanyakumari to Kashmir.

He said, “Mr. Gadkari’s mission has been a resounding success, and he will be remembered for his significant contributions to the country as the Minister for Road Transport & Highways.”

In addition, Syed Mohammad Altaf Bukhari expressed his gratitude to Mr. Gadkari, who is currently on a visit to Jammu and Kashmir, for announcing timelines for various ongoing road and tunnel projects.

He said, “We are grateful to him for providing timelines for several ongoing projects. Most importantly, we applaud his announcement about the construction of the long-awaited Peer Ki Gali tunnel at the historic Mughal Road. The construction of this important tunnel has been a long-standing demand of the people of Jammu and Kashmir, and a promise made by the central government in 2015. We are pleased to see that this promise is finally being fulfilled, albeit later than expected. As the saying goes, better late than never.”

However, Bukhari also made an appeal to the Union Minister to fix a timeline for the Peer Ki Gali tunnel project. He said, “The completion of this tunnel will facilitate seamless connectivity between the regions of Rajouri and Poonch and the Kashmir Valley, which will be a long-awaited dream come true for the people of both regions. Also, the construction of the tunnel will enable the transportation of goods and fruits through the historic Mughal Road, bringing economic benefits to the people. Therefore, I request Mr. Gadkari to expedite the completion of this project by setting a timeline.”

Apni Party President highlighted the significance of the Jammu-Srinagar Highway, which is currently the only surface link connecting the valley to the rest of the country. He stressed the need to establish a task force to monitor the progress of the work on this crucial road.

He said, “Although Mr. Gadkari has been focusing on the Srinagar-Jammu Highway, I request the establishment of a task force to monitor the pace of work on a weekly basis, ensuring the project’s swift completion.”

He further commented on the damaging impact of the highway’s poor condition on the Valley’s tourism potential. He said that many people, who wish to travel to the Valley through the road avoid doing so due to the highway’s poor condition.

Regarding the importance of the ongoing construction of the Zojila tunnel, the Apni Party President said, “The Zojila tunnel holds great significance in terms of defense requirements. However, for the common people, this tunnel will be a historic accomplishment, as the tunnel will play a crucial role in fostering strong bonds and ensuring continuous connectivity between the people of both regions, regardless of weather conditions.”
Syed Mohammad Altaf Bukhari also put forward some demands to the Union Minister for Road Transport & Highways urging him to prioritize the completion of pending projects as well.

He said, “A Detailed Project Report (DPR) for the much-awaited Vailoo-Sinthan tunnel has been prepared and submitted years ago, but unfortunately, it is still pending implementation. I earnestly request the Union Minister to intervene in this matter and ensure that the construction of this vital tunnel begins without any further delay. The construction of this tunnel will benefit lakhs of people from the concerned areas who have been eagerly waiting for it.”

Syed Mohammad Altaf Bukhari also demanded the extension of the Delhi-Katra Express highway up to Nangali sahib, Budh Amarnath, and Shadra Sharief. He said, “As we know that the Delhi-Katra Express highway has a religious significance, it will beapproprate to extend this highway upto the revered places of Nangali sahib, Budh Amarnath, Shadra Sharief so that devotees from different faiths could get benefited from this prestigious highway.”
Syed Mohammad Altaf Bukhari also demanded that the Delhi-Katra Expressway be extended up to Nangali Sahib, Budh Amarnath, and Shadra Sharief.

He said, “The Delhi-Katra Expressway holds religious significance, it would be appropriate to extend this highway to the revered places of Nangali Sahib, Budh Amarnath, and Shadra Sharief so that devotees of different faiths can benefit from this prestigious highway.”

Mr. Bukhari also drew the attention of the minister to several pending road projects in the region that have been progressing at a slow pace. He said, “We have several road projects here, which are under construction but at a low pace. For instance, the work on the 37 km Uri-Poonch Road began in 2015, but even after 8 years, the project is still incomplete. Similarly, the construction of Loran-Gulmarg Road has been delayed for a long time. While 11 km of the road has been constructed from one side and 7 km from the other end, the middle section is yet to be built. Furthermore, the Budhal-Shopian Road, a project worth 300 Crores, is still pending even though its Detailed Project Report (DPR) was submitted a long time ago. It is imperative to complete these projects on a priority basis to improve the connectivity and infrastructure of the region.”

He urged the Union Minister to personally oversee these projects to ensure their completion. He acknowledged the Minister’s generosity towards the people of Jammu and Kashmir, citing the increase in the budget for J&K projects from Rs. 125 crores to a whopping Rs. 11,000 crores. He expressed confidence that the Minister will continue to demonstrate the same generosity by considering their request to set timelines for all pending projects in J&K, thus ensuring their timely completion.

Syed Mohammad Altaf Bukhari also demanded the construction of tunnels at the Sadhna Top in north Kashmir”s Karnah, and at the Razdan Pass in Bandipora.

He said, “The residents of Karnah are subjected to immense hardships due to the blockade of road when it snows. They have been demanding the construction of a tunnel at the Sadhna top for years, and even the Govt has agreed to build the tunnel, which will enable the residents to have round the year connectivity with rest of the Valley. Similarly, the fate of the proposed 18-km Gurez-Bandipora tunnel hangs in balance as the project has not moved the DPR stage.”
He added,” I request the Minister to intervene and ensure both the projects are started without any further delay.”

Apni Party President also emphasised on the requirement of the manraince of the roads and Highways across Jammu and Kashmir, and urged that the funds must be released for this purpose immediately.

During the Press Conference Syed Mohammad Altaf Bukhari was flanked by the party stalwarts including Vice President Choudhary Zulfakar, General Secretary Vijay Bakaya, Provincial President Manjit Singh, and others.

Meanwhile, Syed Mohammad Altaf Bukhari donated Rs 5 lakh for the anti-drug drive in Jammu.


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