The Punjab government has sought from the Centre the inclusion of 13 road projects across the state in the ‘Bharatmala Pariyojna’ and declaration of seven new road projects as National Highways. In a letter to Union Minister of Road Transport, Highways & Shipping Nitin Gadkari, Chief Minister Amarinder Singh sought his intervention in the matter to facilitate better connectivity and smooth commute for the people. The 13 road projects, covering 436.48 km at a cost of Rs 1,737.20 crore, are: Ludhiana-Hambra-Sidhwan to Bet-Dharamkot-Kot Ise Khan (70 km), Patran to Moonak (24 km), Phillaur-Nagar-Rahon (32.50 km), Morinda-Kainaur-Ropar (18.03 km), Pakho Kanchian-Bhagta Bhai Ka (35 km), Abohar-Hanumangarh (21 km), and Kohara-Sehnewal-Dehlon-Pakhowal to Dakha-Barnala Road (63.35 km).
The other road projects are: Bhawnigarh-Samana (23km), Samrala-Payal-Rara-Jegara (40.38 km), Amritsar-Fatehgarh Churian-Dera Baba Nanak (45.75 km), Batala-Qadian (15.50 km), Lambi-Gidderbaha (16.75 km), and Ferozepur-Faridkot (31.22 km). ‘Bharatmala Pariyojna’ is an umbrella programme for the highways sector that focuses on optimising efficiency of road traffic movements by bridging critical infrastructure gap.
The seven road projects which the chief minister has called for declaration as new National Highways are: Patiala-Patran-Moonak road (90 Km), Landran-Sirhind road (32 km), Gurdaspur-Sri Hargobindpur road (40 km), Beas-Mehta-Batala road (35 km), Ludhiana-Mattewara-Rahon (23 km), Kaputhala-Nakodhar-Nurmehal-Phillaur (66 km), and Kaputhala-Kartarpur-Kishangarh-Adampur (35 km). Singh has also requested Gadkari to get the construction of flyover in Bhawanigarh town on NH-64, at a cost of Rs 250 crore, expedited.
The Patiala-Bathinda section of NH-64, with a length of 176 km, had been recently four-laned and toll was being collected by National Highways Authority of India (NHAI), Singh pointed out, adding that the flyover would help avert traffic snarls and road accidents in the thickly populated Bhawanigarh city. In his letter, Amarinder also raised the issue of connectivity of the industrial city of Mandi Gobindgarh with the economic corridor, at a cost of Rs 800 crore.
The central government is developing economic corridors, inter-corridors and feeder routes under its ‘Bharatmala Pariyojana’. In the state of Punjab, the economic corridor of ‘Ajmer-Ludhiana’, passing through Malerkotala-Sangrur-Sunam-Moonak, has been approved. Connecting Mandi-Gobindgarh to this corridor would give a fillip to its steel industry, said the chief minister, suggesting that the direct connectivity be provided near Sangrur through a Feeder Route via Amloh-Babarpur-Chhintanwala-Bhalwan.
Singh also demanded improvement of the junction at the start of the Patiala bypass by constructing a flyover to resolve the traffic problem at a cost of Rs 25 crore, besides strengthening the bypassed sections of the National Highways NH-64 in Patiala city at cost of Rs 60 crore. The chief minister has also urged the Union minister to hand over the implementation of four-laning projects of National Highways in the state to PWD (B&R), “which has the necessary experience for the task”.