Public Works Minister Vikramaditya Singh here today presided over a virtual meeting of the department to review the ongoing works of the restoration of roads damaged due to heavy rains in the state. Senior officers of all the zones of the department were present in the meeting.
The PWD Minister said that due to heavy rains in the entire state, roads have been damaged on a large scale. He said that at present more than 600 roads were blocked in the state and work was being done on war footing to open them. He said that a target has been set to restore about 550 roads in the next three days. He directed all the officers to work 24X7 to restore these roads within the stipulated time period.
Vikramaditya Singh said that review meeting of all the four zones will be held on weekly basis through video conferencing. Lack of proper drainage facility has also been one of the reasons for the large-scale damage to the roads. Instructions were given to open blocked culverts including drainage, cross drainage on all the roads in the state. He said that as per the instructions of the Chief Minister in this regard, the department would ensure the work with full momentum.
A sum of Rs. 30 crore has been provided to the department for the purchase of additional machinery and the process of its procurement has been started for which the Minister thanked Sh. Sukhu. Instructions were also issued to hire the machinery as per the requirement until the procurement process completes.
It was informed in the meeting that the left bank road from Kullu towards Manali has been opened for all type of vehicles. Smooth flow of traffic has been ensured on Mandi-Kamand-Kataula road and the Pandoh-Chailchowk-Sundernagar road in Mandi district. Apart from this, the work of construction of road from Pandoh to Kainchi mod was in progress and the traffic will be restored soon on this. Sh.Vikramaditya said that constant monitoring of this important road connecting Kullu Valley should be ensured and adequate machinery and staff should also be deployed on this particular stretch.
The Minister also directed for early restoration of damaged roads in Jaisinghpur, Bhawarna and Nagrota divisions of district Kangra. He also asked to pay special attention to the restoration and maintenance of alternative link roads as the debris was repeatedly sliding at Chakki Mod on Shimla-Chandigarh Highway. Instructions were also given to restore most of the roads in apple belts of Shimla district by 22nd August.
Earlier, the Public Works Minister also held a meeting with the officials of the Border Roads Organization (BRO), in which proper maintenance of the roads under the BRO was discussed. It was informed in the meeting that traffic upto Kinnaur was running smooth. Apart from this, the Center has been requested to provide Rs. 48 crore for the Manali-Sarchu road. The Public Works Minister urged the BRO to work on four alternative routes including the old Hindustan-Tibet route for Kinnaur to maintain connectivity throughout the year as this was also important from strategic point of view.
Principal Secretary Public Works Department, Bharat Khera, Chief Engineer of PWD, Ajay Gupta, Col. Vishal Guleria of Border Roads Organization and other senior officers were present in the meeting.
Later addressing media persons, the Vikramaditya Singh said that Himachal was facing a major calamity and the loss to the Public Works Department has been estimated to be around Rs. 2,600 crore. He said that with the efforts of Chief Minister Thakur Sukhvinder Singh Sukhu, adequate funds were being made available to the Public Works Department for the restoration of roads up to the divisional level. He said that after getting the approval of the proposal sent by the state under Pradhan Mantri Gram Sadak Yojana-III, special attention would be focused on the strengthening of about 2,683 km long rural roads. He said that work for this would be started on a war footing once the monsoon departs and the department mulls to invite global tender for the same to ensure the quality of works and state-of-the-art technology would also be incorporated in making of roads under PMGSY.