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Jammu Kashmir » Governance

Posted at: Jan 12, 2015, 1:06 AM; last updated: Jan 11, 2015, 11:38 PM (IST)

Batote-Kishtwar national highway handed over to state department

RK Kichlu

Batote, January 11

The handing over of the 110-km-long Batote-Kishtwar national highway-244 (earlier NH-1B) to the state Public Works Department by the 35 Border Roads Task Force of the Border Roads Organisation has brought cheer to the local contractors of Ramban, Doda and Kishtwar districts.

However, locals are not happy with the development.

Following the Centre’s order after a request by the J&K Government, a notification was issued on July 2, 2014, directing the Border Roads organisation (BRO) to hand over the maintenance and development of the Batote-Kishtwar highway to the Public Works Department (PWD) by December 31, 2014. The formal handing and taking over was done on January 9.

During the blockade of the highway many a times due to landslides in September last year, confusion over the agency maintaining the highway (General Reserve Engineer Force (GREF) — the executing agency of the BRO — and the PWD) had delayed and hampered the road clearance operation.

“This transition has ended the confusion, continuing for the past many months over the responsibility of its (NH-244) maintenance. The BRO had taken over the responsibility from the PWD in 1992,” said Executive Engineer, General Reserve Engineer Force, SK Meena.

“It would be easier to make the Public Works Department accountable than the Border Roads organisation,” said Khalid Najeeb Sohrawardy, local National Conference leader and former minister.

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