Proposal to Realign Pathankot-Mandi National Highway Faces Local Opposition
Representational Image. Image Courtesy: Wikimedia Commons
The decision by the National Highways Authority of India (NHAI) to change the alignment of the Pathankot-Mandi four-lane project has met with opposition from the residents of Baijnath, Paprola and Jogindernagar.
The NHAI has decided to change the alignment of the project between Paror and Padhar on the 100-km stretch falling in Kangra and Mandi districts, reported The Tribune.
The report further said that a deputation of residents of Dehan and Panchrukhi along with local MP Kishan Kapoor met Union Surface and Transport Minister Nitin Gadkari recently in New Delhi. They reportedly conveyed their opposition and said that the new proposal, if implemented, “would result in large-scale dislocations of commercial and residential properties between Paror and Panchrukhi”. Therefore, the NHAI should review the proposal and take affected parties into confidence to avoid the dismantling of shops and houses.
According to The Tribune, the NHAI has sent a proposal to the state government and the NHAI head office so that the alignment of the project can be changed. It has reportedly made various changes in its original detailed project report (DPR) for the 219-km strategic road project that links Pathankot with Leh. The project is being executed in five phases between Pathankot and Mandi, said the daily.
The earlier proposal by the NHAI had talked about the construction of four lanes in all five phases. However, the Tribune report said that the NHAI has decided to construct four lanes only in the first two phases between Pathankot and Paror (Palampur). The proposed highway will pass through Paror, Dehan, Patti Badehar, Panchrukhi, Rakkar, Mejharna and Sheetla Mata temple lower areas of Jogindernagar passing mountain belt, added the report. The residents in these areas have expressed fear of the dislocation of their houses as well as shops.
If the new proposal of the NHAI to change of alignment is approved, Maranda, Palampur, Baijnath, Paprola, Chauntra and Jogindernagar, major towns of Kangra and Mandi districts, will not be part of the new highway, said The Tribune. A proposal to construct bypasses to these towns had been in consideration before, but in changed circumstances, no bypasses would be constructed leading to traffic congestion in these towns.
The Tribune quoted a senior officer of the NHAI who said that the matter was still pending with the state government and the NHAI head office for a final decision.
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