Palampur, March 26
The National Highways Authority of India (NHAI) has approved the construction of the second phase of the Pathankot-Mandi four-lane project between 32 Miles and Rajol in Kangra district.
Global bids for the second phase of the project were opened at the NHAI headquarters in New Delhi yesterday and the work, valuing Rs 678 crore, was awarded to a Gurugram-based firm, Gawar Construction Company Private Limited. The work for the first phase had already been awarded.
Anil Sen, NHAI Project Director, told The Tribune that the land acquisition for the second phase was in the final stage, which was one of the conditions for the completion of the bidding process. Sen termed the decision of the NHAI a major achievement for the early completion of the Rs 8,000 crore four-lane strategic project, hanging fire since 2017. The company would soon start construction after getting forest and environment clearances.
As per a project report, now the width of the road will be between 35 metres and 60 metres, depending on land availability. A 2.5-km bypass will also be constructed at Rait to avoid the dislocation of the market and human settlements. Besides, 11 bridges will be constructed. Sen said disbursement of compensation would be started soon.
The 219-km four-lane road is one of the strategic projects linking Pathankot with Leh, Ladakh and other forward areas. Considering defence requirements, the Centre wants to complete it at the earliest.
Official sources said the report, prepared by Joint Ventures and Infrastructure Casta Limited in 2016, would remain the same in the second phase and only be amended in the last 100 km falling between Parour and Mandi where cutting of a high mountain was involved. The distance between Pathankot and Mandi would be reduced from 219 km to 171 km once the road is completed.