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Banihal Bypass Along Jammu-Srinagar NH Likely To Complete By Year End Says Officials

Banihal/Jammu, Apr 25: The construction work on the Banihal bypass along the strategic Jammu-Srinagar national highway is in full swing and likely to be completed by the end of this year, officials said on Tuesday.


The completion of the Rs 224 crore four-lane Banihal bypass project will come as a major relief to the commuters as well as the residents of the congested highway town where massive traffic snarls are an everyday issue.


“The work is in full swing and we are hopeful of completing the project within the set timeline (January 2024). Out of 53 foundations (for the viaduct), only a dozen are now left (at Kharpora),” the project manager of RABCC, Sujay Pal told PTI.


MG Contractors Pvt Ltd took over the project from RAMKY Infrastructure Pvt Ltd in 2019 but the work only started in 2021 after the court settled the issue of compensation of landowners in Kharpora section of Banihal bypass.


RAMKY had got the contract in 2010 but it failed to start the work and later NHAI black-listed the company in 2017 and tendered Banihal bypass afresh.


“Every project is a challenge for us. The work has gathered pace after all the issues were settled and our effort is to complete the project as soon as possible,” Pal, whose company received the contract from MG contractors, said.


He said only senior staff having expertise in the construction work are from outside Jammu and Kashmir, while the majority of those engaged in the work are all locals.


Banihal is an important town on the highway connecting south Kashmir’s Qazigund through the 8.5-km long Navayuga tunnel, which was completed in 2021, bypassing landslide-prone Jawahar tunnel and Shaitan Nalla and reducing the travel time between the two sides to just a few minutes which was over an hour earlier.


However, the heavy rush of traffic added to the problems of the people in Banihal town where the daily traffic jams have become a headache for the locals including students, office-goers and patients.


“Traffic jams in Banihal are a routine affair despite various measures taken to streamline it. The town is congested and the current highway is only meant for two-way traffic. The inflow of trucks causes a lot of problems,” Sub-Divisional Magistrate Banihal Zaheer Abbas said.


Abbas, who is regularly monitoring the Banihal Bypass, said though the deadline set for the completion of the project is January 2024, the construction company has assured of completing the work by December this year which will provide big relief to the locals.


Vice President Beopar Mandal, Banihal Mukhtiyar Nabi thanked Ramban Deputy Commissioner Mussarat Islam for ensuring the start of the work on the project.


“Almost 15 years have passed but the Banihal bypass is still a dream because of the delayed start of the work. We are thankful to the deputy commissioner Ramban who perused the case with the NHAI to ensure the start of the work on the project,” he said.


Expressing satisfaction over the pace of work over the past year, he said the bypass is imperative to decongest the Banihal market as people from all walks of life especially school-going children and patients are the worst sufferers.





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