Envisioned in 2010, 4-laning of Boulevard road project grounded

‘Lack of planning mars project’

MUKEET AKMALI
Srinagar, Publish Date: Jun 25 2018 1:11AM | Updated Date: Jun 25 2018 1:11AM
Envisioned in 2010, 4-laning of Boulevard road project groundedFile Photo

Lack of planning has put on backburner the much-awaited four-laning of the Boulevard road. 

The Rs 33-crore project was approved in 2014 after PDP-BJP government came to power.

A senior public works department official informed Greater Kashmir that a senior former minister had allegedly interrupted the project. “R&B department had decided to start the work on it by March 2017. But, citing environmental concerns, the project has been put on backburner,” said an officer wishing anonymity.  

He said the government had already got the permission from J&K High Court and no objection certificate from Lakes and Waterways Development Authority (LAWDA).

“Despite getting NoCs from agencies concerned, the higher ups avoided to take cudgels against the minister and shunned the idea of starting work on the project,” another R&B official said.

He said that later the higher-ups in order to keep the minister in good humour, approached the National Environmental Engineering Research Institute (Neeri) with the request to study the environmental impact of four-laning of the Boulevard Road that runs adjacent to the iconic Dal lake in 2017.

“However, the report is still awaited as the authorities did not pursue due to political intervention,” he added.

The four-laning project had been formulated to ease vehicular movement on the Boulevard.

Talking to Greater Kashmir, chief engineer, R&B Kashmir, Nisar Ahmad confirmed that the construction work on the project could not be started “for want of environmental analysis report”.

The NEERI had been asked to submit the environmental report. Following the report, the construction would be started, he said.

The Boulevard four-laning from Nehru Park to Kral Sangri would have a separate cycle track which would cost additional Rs 10 crore.

Under the project, the government has decided to widen the road from the UN Office Sonwar to Kral Sangri. However, in the first phase, the stretch from Nehru Park to Kral Sangri will be widened.

The width of the road is to be increased by eight meters on the hill side, leaving the Dal side untouched. “Funds have already been sanctioned for the project,” an official said.

Earlier the NC-Congress government had proposed to construct a cantilever on the Dal Lake to widen it from both sides, but after facing public outcry, the plan was shelved as environmentalists pointed out that constructing a cantilever would mean “encroachment” on the Dal.

An official informed that widening of the road from Nehru Park to Kral Sangri was taken up first as it did not require much money for land acquisition.

“As per our preliminary estimates, 12 shops and 6 houses are to be dismantled to pave way for widening the five kilo meter stretch,” he said, adding that 43 kanals of state land would be utilized for the stretch.

 

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