The National Highways Authority of India (NHAI) will start work on the ₹4,000-crore Chattergala tunnel in Jammu & Kashmir (J&K). The NHAI will also undertake the construction of a new national highway from Lakhanpur to Basohli-Bani to Bhaderwah-Doda. This new route will offer alternate connectivity to hilly towns in the Jammu region.

Union minister of state for Science and Technology, Earth Sciences, Prime Minister’s Office, Department of Atomic Energy, Department of Space and MoS Personnel, Public Grievances and Pensions Jitendra Singh says the proposal for Chattergala tunnel had been initiated about six years ago, and the detailed project report was also prepared by the Border Roads Organisation (BRO) agency ‘Beacons’ but due to lack of funds it could not be undertaken.

“Once this highway is complete, it will be a game changer as it will provide all-weather connectivity between Lakhanpur and district Doda via tourist spots of Basohli and Bani, in addition to reducing the travel time considerably and giving a boost to business, employment and revenue generation,” Singh says, after meeting Union minister of Road Transport and Highways Nitin Gadkari in Srinagar.

The construction from one end and when it reaches the tunnel site the construction of the historic Chhatergala tunnel will also be executed, Singh adds.

Referring to the under construction Delhi-Katra express corridor, Singh recalled that the express corridor had been approved after a lot efforts that began way back in 2015 and there were initial delays because Punjab had also demanded a similar express corridor for Amritsar highway between Delhi and Amritsar Finally, after arriving at a compromise to have an express corridor between Delhi and Katra with a stopover at Amritsar and Kathua the project was finalised.

The Union minister informed that the express corridor is in the last phase of its completion and expressed satisfaction that the public demand for the construction of underpasses at places like Hatli, Rajbagh, Chann Arorian, Chapper and Kootah had been accepted for the convenience of the local population.

Singh further says the work on the national highway section of Kishtwar-Chatru will also be expedited which will provide an alternative road connectivity for ease of travel.

ICRA expects India’s government to maintain a strong focus on road sector investments through increasing capital outlays. The Ministry of Roads, Transport and Highways’ (MoRTH) budgetary allocation for the sector has increased by more than 8 times over the past decade to ₹2.7 lakh crore in fiscal 2025, reflecting a 22% compound annual growth rate.

“India’s road construction will likely grow 5%-8% to 12,500 km-13,000 km in fiscal 2025, following a robust expansion of around 20% in fiscal 2024. This pace of execution will be supported by a healthy pipeline of projects, increased government capital outlay and greater focus on project completion by MoRTH,” says Girishkumar Kadam, ICRA’s senior vice president and group head, Corporate Ratings.

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