Shimla, Feb 5 : Himachal Pradesh has been strongly raising the issue of safety and the quality of construction of the Parwanoo-Shimla highway four-laning project with executing agency the National Highway Authority of India (NHAI), Chief Minister Jai Ram Thakur told the Assembly here on Tuesday.
The state government recently apprised the Union Minister for Road Transport and Highways and the NHAI Chairman about various issues such as cutting of hill slopes, suitable protection works in a scientific manner and continuous maintenance activities for ensuring safe roads, he said.
In a written reply to Congress member Dhani Ram Shandil, Thakur said the NHAI on January 11 told the state that the issues of providing all possible safety measures and keeping the road in traffic worthy condition are being monitored at the senior management level.
The government is committed to ensure quality and safety for the four-laning project and is continuously monitoring each work package at the highest level, the Chief Minister said.
The Rs 748 crore outlay for the first phase of the four-laning project lapsed in March last year.
A total of 23,785 trees were axed for widening the Parwanoo-Shimla highway. The first phase is now likely to be completed in March this year.
In the next phase, the four-laning of a 22 km-long stretch between Chambaghat and Kaithlighat is scheduled.
It will cost around Rs 598 crore. Work on the last stretch between Kaithlighat and Shimla will commence after that.
Official sources told IANS that the four-laning of the 88-km stretch connecting Parwanoo with Shimla would cost Rs 2,730 crore, as per initial estimates.