'Expedite land acquisition for roads'
New Delhi: Concerned over delays in land acquisition for highway projects in the North East, the Centre has sought the intervention of officials in the region for expediting the process, a top official has said.
In Mizoram alone, the official said, projects worth Rs 6,000 crore are facing land acquisition hurdles and the state government has been requested to expedite the acquisition.
These projects that are JICA funded are being undertaken in eight packages, a top NHIDCL official said.
The government is planning to undertake highway projects worth about Rs 1.45 lakh crore, spread over 2-3 years, to upgrade the infrastructure in the region.
A total of 197 road development projects are being implemented under various programmes and schemes of the road transport and highways ministry in the north eastern states.
"There have been delays in land acquisition for highway projects in north eastern states including the Imphal-Moreh highway section in Manipur and a 350 km JICA funded project in Mizoram. We have sought state government's intervention expediting land acquisition," the official said.
The National Highways and Infrastructure Development Corporation Ltd (NHIDCL), an arm of the road transport and highways ministry, is executing highway projects in the North East.
The Cabinet in July last year had cleared the Rs 1,630 crore project for widening and upgradation of 65 km Imphal- Moreh stretch in Manipur, which is part of the Asian Highway project, providing road connectivity to eastern nations like Thailand.
The government has taken up many road improvement projects under Special Accelerated Road Development Programme for North-East for better connectivity in the region.
This is in addition to the NHIDCL so as to augment the capacity of the agencies involved in development and maintenance of highways in the region. Last year, Road Transport and Highways Minister Nitin Gadkari had said, "The government is planning to invest about Rs 1.45 lakh crore in the North East for development of National Highways."
It plans to invest about Rs 48,000 crore in Assam, Rs 22,000 crore in Manipur and Rs 20,000 crore in Nagaland for building roads.
Projects worth Rs 17,000 crore are planned in Sikkim, Rs 12,000 crore in Mizoram, Rs 10,000 crore in Arunachal Pradesh and Rs 8,000 crore each in Meghalaya and Tripura, he had said.