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Nitin Gadkari to visit Himachal, assess damage to infrastructure, 2 four-lane projects 

Nitin Gadkari, Minister for Road Transport and Highways (File Photo)

Shimla: While Himachal Pradesh continues to grapple with multiple devastations and massive damage to NHs, Union Road Transport and Highways Minister Nitin Gadkari has decided to come to the rescue of the state.

A communication received from the office of the Union Minister reveals that Gadkari will visit the disaster affected areas of Himachal Pradesh on Friday on August 4.

“During this, he ( Union minister) will inspect the damage caused by rain to Kiratpur-Nerchowk, Kalka-Shimla Fourlane and other National Highways (NH)” state’s minister for Public Works Department (PWD) Vikramaditya Singh told India Narrative here

The minister will also be accompanied by a team of experts from the National Highways Authority of India (NHAI) and senior officials of the ministry of National Highways.

Earlier, Gadkari’s program was to visit Himachal on Tuesday, but the program has been changed to Friday afternoon.

Last week, State’s PWD minister and Congress MP from Mandi Pratibha Singh had called on Gadkari and briefed him about the scale of damages which National Highways and two Fourlane projects – Kiratpur –Manali and Chandigarh –Shimla had suffered between July 8 to 11 due to torrential rains,landslides and flash floods.

It was at Vikramaditya Singh’s intervention Gadkari had agreed not to charge toll tax on Kiratpur -Manali four lane for next six months.

Cloud-bursts frequently happening in districts of Kullu, Kinnaur, Chamba and Mandi have wreaked havoc in the state snapping the road communication in the state.

“The committee of experts will also inspect the four-lane stretch from Kiratpur to Nerchowk. NHAI had sent a proposal to start this fourlane. If the committee gives it the green signal, then the road users and tourists will be able to travel on the Kiratpur –Manali Four-lane uptill Ner Chowk in Mandi. Beyond this, the road has suffered massive damage at Pandoh and some other points ,beside Kullu-Manali stretch.

“The Kiratpur-Manali four lane ahead of Pandoh has been completely damaged in the rain. Due to this, it will now take a long time for the four-lane construction till Manali. However, once Gadkari takes a tour of the area, there is quite a hope that restoration works begin immediately.

The committee will also inspect the four-lane stretch from Kainchi Mor to Kiratpur. If the experts find everything right, then after August the four-lane from Kiratpur to Nerchowk will be fully opened for traffic.

 Varun Chari, Project Director, NHAI has confirmed the visit of the Union Minister.

Says  D C Rana, Special Secretary State Disaster Management Authority “we are in a constant state of experiencing landslides. The NHAI, on its own had done a marvellous work to build Kiratpur -Manali four-lane.The natural calamities are phenomena happening all over the world. The Himalayas are quite vulnerable to it” he says and hopes that Nitin Gadkari’s upcoming visit will be very useful to Himachal Pradesh.

Uptil now , 184 persons have lost their lives in the state and damage to the property is estimated to be Rs 5361 cr.

The Meteorological Office Shimla alerted about heavy rain in the state in next 24 hours that could lead to landslides, flash floods, mudslides, and increased flow of water in the rivers and drains.The National Highway-5 connecting Shimla and Kinnaur district was again closed due to landslides in the Broni drain and Khaneri.