North-South corridor construction to begin from Dec
If things go as per planning, the construction of the much awaited North- South corridor will begin from December.
Once completed, the thoroughfare will connect Haldia port with North Bengal and will improve freight connectivity to Bangladesh, Nepal and Bhutan.
The Asian Development Bank (ADB) will provide 70 per cent of the estimated cost of the project which is Rs 4,500 crore at the interest rate of 0.5 per cent per annum.
The remaining 30 per cent will be given by the state government.
Senior officials of ADB along with their counterparts in the state government had inspected the area.
The acquisition of land is in the final stages and compensation has been paid to the affected people as per the ADB guideline.
The Left Front government had proposed to construct the road in 2009. Following which clearance was sought from various departments.
After coming to power in 2011, the Mamata Banerjee government took up the issue with Centre.
Recently, clearance from the Economic Affairs wing under Finance ministry and Road Transport and Highways Ministry was received.
A senior state government official said that the road would be a tolled one.
A tender to select the firm will be floated soon. The state government officials are giving final touches to the tender documents.
The official said it took nearly several years to start the project. The length of the corridor will be 230 km.
Once completed, it will reduce travelling by 70 km. Earlier, to reach Haldia Port, one had to
take National Highway number 34 and 70.
As some stretches on both the highways are congested, one took even a couple of days to reach the port.
The new road will connect National Highways 34 and 60 near Moregram in Murshidabad.
Again, it will connect National Highway 2 near Burdwan and National Highway 6 near Mechogram in East Midnapore. So, reaching Haldia Port will be much easier and trouble-free.
It may be mentioned that Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee had over and again spoken about this corridor.
She had said that as West Bengal was the gateway to North Bengal and neighbouring countries including Bangladesh, Bhutan, Nepal and even Myanmar and Singapore so, economic development was absolutely necessary.
Senior state government officials said that freight movement thorough Haldia port was expected to
go up by several times because of the proposed thoroughfare.