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Mughal Road tunnel: Okayed by Centre, now halted..

A company owned by Union road ministry has put on hold pre-construction project work of a proposed tunnel that would enable round-the-year connectivity on the historic Mughal Road.
Documents accessed  reveal the National Highways & Infrastructure Development Corporation Limited (NHIDCL), a company fully owned by the Union ministry of road, transport and highways, had on 30 March 2017 invited proposals from eligible consultants for preparation of the detailed project report and working out pre-construction activities for the tunnel.The bid was invited two months after Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti met Union road minister Nitin Gadkari at New Delhi. The last date for submission of the bids was 2 May 2017 but it was extended to 14 December 2017 for reasons that were not made clear by the NHIDCL.
The status of this proposed project figured in the publicised fortnightly and monthly status reports of the NHIDCL till 30 November 2017 but disappeared from the status reports dated January 15 and 31 and February 19 and 28 this year.
The state government is clueless about its disappearance. In an email response  however, executive director NHIDCL Sanjeev Malik wrote, “The DPR works can only be awarded if the entrustment to NHIDCL is notified. As the same is yet to happen the process has been put to hold.”
The construction of the tunnel has been high on ruling PDP’s agenda, which takes credit for construction of the Mughal Road. The Centre had approved its construction in 2004, when PDP shared power with Congress in the state.
Its construction is an ingredient of the Agenda for Alliance agreed upon by PDP and BJP.
During the past two years, the PDP-led government has repeatedly claimed that the Government of India has agreed to the construction of the road tunnel “in principle”.
On 3 February 2017, an official handout issued after Mehbooba-Gadakari meeting claimed the Union road ministry has accorded in-principle approval for work on Mughal Road and Singhpora-Vailoo tunnels and ordered that DPRs for both the projects should be prepared at the earliest.

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