Millennium Post

Focus on infra development in NE, Centre allots Rs 600 cr

The Centre on Thursday earmarked Rs 600 crore for development of railway network in the north east and decided to set up an empowered group to ensure speedy upgradation of overall infrastructure in the region.

At a meeting chaired by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh to review infrastructure situation in the region, it was decided to expedite work on many hydro-projects which are held up due to various reasons and build strong transmission capacities on priority basis.

The Prime Minister directed the Planning Commission to call a meeting of all the Chief Ministers of the north eastern states to improve inter-state coordination for speedy completion of the infrastructure projects.

Accessibility problems emerged as a major issue at the meeting attended by Finance Minister P Chidambaram, Railways Minister Mallikarjun Kharge, Telecom Minister Kapil Sibal, Civil Aviation Minister Ajit Singh, Planning Commission Deputy Chairman Montek Singh Ahluwalia besides Chief Ministers of the north eastern states.

The review covered the railway, road, airport, power, and telecom projects in the region.

‘The focus was on speeding up implementation of ongoing projects and also fill-in gaps to ensure full physical and electronic connectivity to and in the north eastern region,’a PMO statement said.

‘At the meeting, it was agreed that the Finance Ministry will provide an additional Rs 400 crore to complete three critical rail projects before March 2014,’ it said.

These include the Harmati-Naharlagun project to provide the first rail connectivity to Arunachal Pradesh and Dudhnoi- Mehdipathar to connect Meghalaya. Another project is the Rangapura-North Lakhimpur gauge conversion.
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