Jammu and Kashmir has achieved the third position in terms of road network development, following Madhya Pradesh and Rajasthan.
This is a significant indicator of progress after the abrogation of Article 370.
In the fiscal year 2021-22, all habitations with a population of over 1,000 as per the 2011 Census, were provided with road connectivity.
According to official figures from the Ministry of Rural Development, a total of 2,967 projects have been completed under the Pradhan Mantri Gram Sadak Yojana (PMGSY), covering a distance of 17,798 km and connecting 2,096 habitations.
Since the abrogation of Article 370 in Jammu and Kashmir in August 2019, the union territory has shown improvement in the annual construction of roads, moving up from the twelfth position to the third position for two consecutive financial years.
Ministry data shared by the Information and Public Relations Department of the union territory reveals that Jammu and Kashmir's ranking in the all-India rankings for PMGSY has steadily improved.
It held the ninth rank in Financial Year (FY) 2016-17, 11th rank in FY 2017-18, 12th rank in FY 2018-19, and then improved to the ninth rank in FY 2019-20. In the following years, it further improved to the third rank in both FY 2020-21 and FY 2021-22.
Union Transport Minister Nitin Gadkari, in a written reply to Rajya Sabha, stated that the budget allocation for Jammu and Kashmir has consistently increased over the past three years.
In a press briefing in Srinagar in April 2023, Gadkari announced that there is a mission underway to improve the road network in Jammu and Kashmir. The goal is to make it equivalent to the road network in USA, within the next three to four years.
Traveling between Srinagar and Jammu has become much more convenient and efficient. According to a report from the Ministry of Home Affairs, it now takes only six to seven hours to travel between the two cities on the renovated Srinagar-Jammu national highway.
This is a significant improvement from the previous travel time of 12 to 14 hours.
Similarly, the travel time between Jammu and Doda has been reduced from 5.5 hours to 3.5 hours, while the journey between Jammu and Kishtwar now takes only five hours, down from 7.5 hours.
These improvements in travel time have greatly enhanced connectivity and accessibility in the region.
Previously, the average macadamisation of roads was 6.54 km per day, but now it has significantly increased to 20.68 km per day.
According to official data up until March 2022, the public works department successfully resolved 356 complaints through the 'Meri Sadak' platform and 32 complaints through the 'centralised public grievance redress and monitoring system,' a website that allows people to submit complaints at any time.
The government has made significant efforts to expand road networks, particularly in rural and remote areas.
Various schemes such as PMGSY, Central Road and Infrastructure Fund, NABARD, road sector, cities and towns (macadamisation), languishing projects, and pothole-free road schemes have been implemented to facilitate the construction, improvement, and upgrade of roads and bridges.
These initiatives have helped meet several targets and enhance transportation infrastructure across the country.
Bhuvan Krishna is Staff Writer at Swarajya.
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