Jitendra meets Gadkari, seeks funds for J&K tunnel

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New Delhi, Mar 19 (PTI) Union minister Jitendra Singh met Road Transport and Highways Minister Nitin Gadkari on Friday for allocation of funds to enable timely completion of the proposed Chattergala tunnel, which will connect Kathua district with Doda in Jammu & Kashmir, according to a statement.

This is going to be a landmark project providing all-weather alternate road connectivity between the two distant regions and reducing the travel time from Doda to Lakhanpur to just around four hours, it said.

Chattergala project envisages a 6.8-km-long tunnel, for which the feasibility survey has already been conducted by Border Roads Organisation (BRO), the Personnel Ministry said.

The tunnel is likely to take about 4 years for completion after the execution work starts and its construction cost is around Rs 3,000 crore, it said.

Since the BRO was facing some fund constraints, Singh met Gadkari in New Delhi and requested for financial support to the BRO through Bharatmala project or any other appropriate channel from the Road Transport and Highways Ministry, the statement said.

Gadkari's response was positive and he issued instructions to work out how best this could be done, it said.

Singh has also impressed upon BRO chief Lt Gen Rajeev Choudhary to expedite the Chattergala project as fast as possible.

The minister of state for personnel said Chattergala was going to be a 'revolutionary game changer', particularly for the districts Kathua and Doda.

Singh said this would will not only generate revenue but also jobs.

The all-weather road connectivity will bring ease of business, shorten the travel time and also provide a unique opportunity for places like Bani and Bhaderwah to emerge as tourist destinations of national repute, he added.

Singh said the demand for the tunnel at Chattergalla had been pending for several years, but somehow not taken up by earlier governments because of their different priorities.

The Udhampur Lok Sabha constituency has witnessed 'unprecedented progress' in road and bridge construction in the last six years, the notable among them being the Atal Setu, Keediyan Gadyal and Juthana bridges in Kathua, Devika Bridge at Udhampur, new highway from Khilani-Marmat in Doda to Sudhmahadev and Kaljugar tunnel, it said.

The ongoing BRO projects in the constituency include construction of road from Bhagwa to Lal-Darman to Masal-Dushnan in Doda, Chkramore-Maharajpur-Rajbagh-Haria Chak road in Kathua and upgradation of Phatala to Jakhani road in Udhampur.

Choudhary also gave Singh a brief about a dozen BRO road and bridge projects coming in his Lok Sabha constituency, the statement added. PTI AKV HMB