Gadkari announces Rs 400 crore for restoration of roads in Himachal

Road Transport and Highways minister Nitin Gadkari accompanied HP CM Sukhvinder Singh Sukhu and BJP leader Jairam Thakur to assess the aftermath of the disaster that ravaged Kullu district

Nitin Gadkari, Sukhvinder SIngh Sukhu and Jairam Thakur together (Photo: IANS)
Nitin Gadkari, Sukhvinder SIngh Sukhu and Jairam Thakur together (Photo: IANS)


Union Road Transport and Highways Minister Nitin Gadkari on Tuesday announced Rs 400 crore for the repair and restoration of roads and other connectivity infrastructure of Himachal Pradesh that were battered by torrential rains that triggered massive landslides and flash floods.

Accompanying state Chief Minister Sukhvinder Singh Sukhu and BJP leader Jairam Thakur, Gadkari assessed the aftermath of the disaster that ravaged Kullu district.

The leaders visited flood-hit areas including Bada Bhuiyan, Deodhar, Shirad, Klath, and Aloo Ground Manali and interacted with people affected by the calamity, besides seeking insights into their concerns during the challenging time.

Later, the Chief Minister told the media here that it was for the first time in the history of Himachal that a disaster of such high magnitude struck the state. “As the resources of the state are limited, the Union government must extend help to Himachal generously at the earliest to aid relief and restoration efforts,” the chief minister said.

Sukhu said the torrential rains from July 7 to 11 caused extensive damage to roads and bridges at numerous places in the state, besides public and individual property.

“Union Minister Nitin Gadkari quickly accepted my invitation to visit Himachal Pradesh for which I am grateful to him,” said Sukhu. The Chief Minister also appealed to Leader of Opposition Jairam Thakur, who was accompanying them during the visit, to extend his wholehearted support in the hour of crisis and stand jointly to address the needs of the people.

Talking to the media, Gadkari assured that the Central government would extend all possible help to the affected people. He said people have suffered immensely and the situation was even worse than they would have imagined otherwise.

“There has been unprecedented damage to the roads, bridges and private property due to flash floods, landslides and cloudbursts triggered by heavy rains.”

He said Rs 400 crore would be released by the Union government under Central Road and Infrastructure Fund (CRIF) so that the repair and restoration works can be undertaken on a war footing.

“The NHAI (National Highway Authority of India) will also bear the cost of repairing link roads up to one km along the national highways in apple belts,” he added.

The Union minister said the huge portions of national highways and other roads have been swept by the furious flow of the river and a technical team has been constituted to study probable causes and take measures to prevent such occurrences in the future. The team will visit flood-hit areas in three to four days to assess and take stock of the situation.

He said due to the accumulation of muck in the river bed, the river changed its course.Adaptive measures will be taken to construct a concrete wall or channelize river beds wherever required.

Gadkari also sought cooperation of the state government in this direction. He said the Union ministry will bear whatever money is to be incurred on the repair and restoration of roads under the NHAI.

He also stated that falling stones and boulders from the mountains was rather common in hilly regions, always posing threat to the commuters and to address the issue a comprehensive study would be conducted and thereafter recommendations would be shared with the state government.

Gadkari said 68 tunnels are being constructed in Himachal Pradesh at a cost of Rs 12,500 crore. The repair work of the Kiratpur-Manali four-lane will also be completed in the coming two to three months and will be inaugurated soon. A sum of Rs 250 crore has been sanctioned for Bijli Mahadev Ropeway, the construction of which will commence soon, he said.

He said approval has been given to Shahpur-Sihunta road to be built with an outlay of Rs 52 crore under CRIF and Rangas-Mehre via Bagchal road would also be constructed incurring an expenditure Rs 49 crore.

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