Shimla: Despite having one of the highest road density among hill states, Himachal still has to connect about 32 percent of habitations with a road, a target which the state has drawn up from the year 2020, Thakur Gulab Singh, public works minister stated here.
At a meet the press program, the minister said out of 18,946 total habitations, 12,700 had been connected by roads. Villages with a population of more than 250 are intended to be road connected by 2012 and the plan is to provide all villages with all weather roads by 2020.
He said that last year’s heavy rains followed by intense winter had left the state the road network badly damaged.
“For a loss of about Rs 900 crore to road infrastructure, the union government had advanced only Rs 147 crore as compensation,” he said.
Giving details about a Rs 1365 crore World Bank funded project for upgrading 10 state highways, he said that Rs 561.71 crore had been spent for upgrading 435 Km of roads.
A detailed project report for upgrading another 6 roads having a combined length of 639 Kms is under preparation which would be put up for World Bank funding, he added.
For road construction purposes, the government had decided to go in for tunnels, where possible to shorten distances and avoid intruding into forest areas, said the minister. For a start preparing project reports of three tunnels is underway, he added.
About mounting road accidents the minister said that engineers had identified 536 black spots of which 288 had been improved.
About roadside encroachments, PC Kapoor, principal secretary PWD who was present said that there were 2422 illegal infringement cases of which over half had been evicted.