The Chief Secretary, Dr Arun Kumar Mehta today chaired a meeting to review the condition of the National Highway-44 connecting Jammu and Srinagar, and take stock of the traffic movement thereon.
Principal Secretary, Public Works (R&B) Department, representative of NHAI, Deputy Commissioner, Ramban, and district SP, Ramban participated in the meeting.
It was informed that the Department has prioritized construction and maintenance of the national highway-44 which has kept the highway open for vehicular traffic even during extreme weather vagaries.
The Chief Secretary was apprised of the recent traffic disruption on the highway due to the breakdown of an overloaded vehicle carrying a 36-ton dry ration in violation of the laid down norms.
The Chief Secretary directed for ascertaining reasons for the incident to prevent recurrence of such incidents in future. He further directed the NHAI and traffic police to forthwith put in place a mechanism for calibrated checking of all load carriers to prevent plying of overloaded vehicles, which not only disrupts the usual traffic flow but also compromises the road quality.
Dr Mehta maintained that all load-carrying vehicles are to be passed through weighing bridges at toll plazas in a staggered manner to avoid any jams and action against overloaded vehicles is to be initiated to ensure smooth flow of traffic.
Further, the concerned agencies were asked to submit daily violation reports and weekly action taken reports to the higher offices and establish zero tolerance to traffic violations and plying of overloaded vehicles. They were asked to conduct regular drives to check traffic violations.
Reviewing the progress of works at the Panthayal Tunnel, the Chief Secretary directed the NHAI to double its efforts and complete the pending works by 15th April 2022.
The Chief Secretary emphasized that on completion, the tunnel will provide reliable connectivity bypassing the current landslide-prone stretch of NH-44 and as such will provide safe and secure transit to vehicles.
To further facilitate smooth traffic flow on the Ramban- Banihal stretch of the National Highway, the traffic police and district administration were directed to properly demarcate single-lane driving zones and ensure lane-driving and traffic discipline among the commuters. Dr Mehta also emphasized the wearing of body cameras by traffic police.