New Delhi: The Cabinet Committee on Infrastructure on Thursday approved highway projects in three states – Himachal Pradesh, Haryana and Andhra Pradesh. The total cost of the projects has been pegged at Rs 5,388.36 crore.

For Himachal Pradesh, the Committee approved implementation of four laning of the Kiratpur – Near Chowk section of the National Highway 21 that connects Kullu-Manali. "The total project cost estimated will be Rs 2,356.20 crore out of which Rs 537.37 crore will be for the land acquisition, rehabilitation, resettlement and pre-construction," the CCI said in a statement.

National Highway No 21 is an important link connecting national capital and tourist destination of Manali. The highway is also a major link to Leh in Ladakh.

According to an official, “The main objective is to improve the infrastructure in Himachal Pradesh and reduce the time and cost of travel between Kiratpur- Ner Chowk. It will also increase employment for the locals.”

The committee also cleared four-laning of Panchkula Highway near Uttar Pradesh and Haryana border at a cost of Rs 1,021 crore. The four-laning will also reduce the heavy traffic plying between Yamunanagar-Saha-Bawala-Panchkula.

According to sources, the total road length of the four lane project is 84.380 kms covering the district of Rupnagar in Punjab and the Bilaspur and Manali  districts in Himachal Pradesh.

The Committee also approved six-laning of Vijaywada-Gundugolanu on NH-5 in Andhra Pradesh worth Rs 2,011 crore. NH-5 is an important link connecting Kolkata to Chennai, which falls on the Golden Quadrilateral Corridor.