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VIJAY GUPTA VG: Centre has approved up gradation and construction of new roads in J&K, what is the present status? SS: It is true that the centre is very compassionate to help us to pace up the developmental works and in this regard we also sought cooperation and help from the Union Minster on uplifting various developmental programmes, which include the construction of new roads and up-gradation of other developmental works. The Union Minister approved Rs 1200 crore for the up-gradation of major routes across Jammu and Kashmir, assuring that all the possible help would be provided to the State for completing road projects. VG: Government has also announced many skill development programmes, what is their status? SS: To upgrade the skills of youth in our state, the union ministry also announced a Skill Development programme in the State, which he said would focus on capacity building among the youth in the construction of the tunnels. Under these programmes, nearly a dozen of tunnels have been approved across the State so far, which would need highly skilled youth for construction. The Union Minister also assured that the major construction works would be handed over to the locals for participating in the mega developmental activities which include tunnels like Zojila, Highways, ring road for Srinagar and Jammu cities. VS: What are the major projects approved by the government to strengthen the national highways? SS: To strengthen the road network at National highways, the State Government has submitted a proposal of Rs 13 crore regarding the restoration of the road between Batote and Kishtwar, which is witnessing enormous road accidents.
The Union Minister responded positively to the State request for reviewing of the constriction of national highways stretch between Banihal and Ramban to make it an all-weather road for the State.
We are stressing on creating viable environment for the in-land water transportation across the region. The Union Minister asked us work for the promotion and viable marketability of the handicraft and dry-fruit products of the State.
VG: Development of airstrip at Kishtwar is an old demand, when the people should get an airstrip?
SS: In order to finalize the modalities for development of airstrip at Kishtwar, a high-level meeting of the civil administration, Army and the Airport Authorities of India was held in which the pros and cons for the development of Airstrip at Kishtwar for the benefits of large chunk of population of Kishtwar and neighboring districts were discussed.
Under the Regional Connectivity Scheme (RCS), the Airstrip is being developed at Kishtwar, which can be used by the civil population as well as by the defence personnel without any hindrance.
I want to inform the people that a team of high level officers will soon visit Kishtwar to have further discussions on the issue to finalize the matter.

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