Infrastructure Current Affairs - 2020

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J&K Development: Rs 2000 crore for Z-Morh Tunnel; 36 Union Ministers’ visit

After Abrogation of Article 370, Government of India is rapidly working on developing the territories of Ladakh and Jammu Kashmir. In order to hasten the process, 36 Union Ministers are to visit the Union Territory. Also, the concession agreement for the Z-Morh tunnel was signed on January 17, 2020.

Highlights

A concession agreement to complete the 6.5 kilo metre Z-Morh Tunnel was signed. According to the agreement, a two-lane bi-directional tunnel is to be constructed at a cost of Rs 2000 crores. A parallel escape tunnel is to be completed in 3.5 years. The tunnel will open NH-1 Srinagar-Sonmarg-Gumri highway throughout the year. The highway is seldom closed in winter due to snow.

About the Tunnel

The tunnel is capable of allowing 1,000 vehicles an hour at a speed of 80 km per hour. The Tunnel construction process began in 2012. Border Road Organization (BRO) was the previous implementation agency of the project. The project was however transferred to IL&FS in 2016. In 2019, on request of IL&FS due its financial crisis, the project was foreclosed. NHIDCL (National Highway and Infrastructure Development Corporation) invited for a new concessionaire through bidding process. APCO won the contract and is to complete the balance work.

Visit of 36 Union Ministers

All the union ministers are to pay a visit to Jammu and Kashmir. The aim of the visit is to spread information about the policies of the Union Government towards the development of J&K. This will help to win hope and trust of the people of Jammu and Kashmir.

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NITI Aayog and Ladakh UT sign MoU to develop Infrastructure projects

On January 17, 2020, NITI Aayog and Ladakh Union Territory signed a Memorandum of Understanding. According to the agreement, NITI Aayog will support the administration of the Ladakh through its initiative “Development Support Services to States for Infrastructure Projects” (DSSS)

Highlights

NITI Aayog will identify high-impact projects. It will expedite project implementations, create unique models of development and will identify high-impact priority projects. A team of experts associated with NITI Aayog are to be stationed in Ladakh to identify and develop the territory. The team will predominantly focus on solar energy, tourism and basic infrastructure.

What are DSSS projects of NITI Aayog?

The main objective of DSSS projects is creating PPP (Public Private Partnership) projects. In 2018, phase I of the project was completed. In phase I, 10 projects were selected from 400 projects that were submitted by the states. In phase II, that was completed in the year 2018-19, the selected projects entered transaction stage. Preparation activities were carried out. The think tank also created techno-economic feasibility report.

The following were other steps taken

  • The think tank organized investor consultations for the state governments
  • Integrated post-harvest supply chain management and integrated community based micro-irrigation infrastructure were generated.

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