The Himachal government has begun land acquisition process for 219-km Pathankot – Mandi four-laning. The state government issued notification to this effect which has been published in the state gazette and newspapers.As per the notification issued by the state government for land acquisition, over 50 per cent alignment of the road has been changed and major towns like Palampur, Baijnath, Paprola, Jogindernagar and Nagrota Bagwan have been bypassed. Under new alignment land will be acquired from 100 patwar circles falling in rural areas between Jassur and Mandi. The notices for land acquisition have already been served on the landowners.Besides, the state government has also started process for acquiring government land, including forest land, falling under the category of reserved forests.A senior officer of the state government, while addressing media persons here today, said that the NHAI had already set up its office at Palampur to execute the project. He said the DPR had been completed well before time. He said Deputy Commissioners and SDMs of the respective jurisdictions had been directed by the state government to extend all cooperation for speedy land acquisition so that construction work could be taken up this November.He said on the request of state government special stress had been laid on causing minimum inconvenience to the people residing along with the highway and to avoid dislocation of business establishment. This has necessitated change in the road alignment. He said fourlane work, when completed, would result in the reduction of the distance between Pathankot and Mandi from 219 km to 171 km, 48 km less journey. The Pathankot-Mandi highway is among one of the most significant roads of the country with strategic importance as it links Pathankot with Leh via Manali. Due to the disturbed conditions in Jammu and Kashmir, this road has gained more importance because the Army is using it to carry essential supplies to Leh and other border areas.
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