Jammu, May 14 (PTI) Union Minister Jitendra Singh on Saturday said the Centre's firm commitment is to ensure a durable road network for Jammu and Kashmir to ensure its rapid growth and development.

He said roads are the lifelines of a developing nation that brings benefits in various sectors like education, health, marketing of agricultural produce and also brings other social benefits as well.

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Singh, the Minister of State for Personnel, said in the last seven to eight years of the Narendra Modi government, India's work has undergone a sea change and projects are now being cleared on need-based requirements, rather than on any other considerations.

In sanctioning new road projects, priority is given to views of sarpanches and other local elected representatives rather than to requests made by local MPs or MLAs, he said.

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Singh highlighted the government's initiatives in boosting road connectivity in Jammu and Kashmir and said it is the firm commitment of the present dispensation that every part of the Union Territory gets a durable road network for rapid growth and development.

According to a Personnel Ministry statement, the minister reviewed 68 roads completed under the Pradhan Mantri Gram Sadak Yojana at Kathua in Jammu and deferred a formal inauguration due to state mourning on Saturday as a mark of respect following the passing away of UAE President Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al-Nahyan.

Built at a cost of over Rs 547 crore, the all-weather roads measuring up to 526 kilometres is likely to benefit a population of over 1.2 lakh people, most of who live in far-flung hilly areas, Singh said.

Barring a few, all the projects were completed within a stipulated timeframe, despite the serious challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic, he said.

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