Road Connectivity Project Current Affairs - 2020

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.

Phase III of Pradhan Mantri Gram Sadak Yojana launched

On December 18, 2019, Union Minister of Rural Development, Agriculture and Farmers Welfare, Shri Narendra Singh Tomar launched the third phase of Pradhan Mantri Gram Sadak Yojana.

Highlights

The third phase aims at consolidation of 1,25,000 km of connectivity that primarily aiming at rural links connecting Gramin Agricultural Markets. The funding pattern is set between the centre and state as 60:40. In the north-eastern states it is set as 90:10. Under the scheme, so far 53,491 rural road works have been completed under the scheme. This connects 97.27% of feasible habitations and adds up to 6 lakh kilometres of roads across the country.

The scheme has used waste plastic and cold mix technology to build major portion of roads. These green technologies have been used on 36,063 kilometres of road constructed under the Pradhan Mantri Gram Sadak Yojana.

Pradhan Mantri Gram Sadak Yojana

The scheme was launched in 2000. It was completely funded by the central government. In 2015, under the recommendation of the 14th finance commission, the project was funded by both centre and state in the ratio 60:40.