‘Land acquisition, environmental clearances major reasons for NE road projects delay’

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Shillong, Sep 24 (IANS) Road and Transport Minister Nitin Gadkari on Monday said land acquisition and environmental clearances were the two major hurdles delaying the road infrastructure projects in the northeastern states.

Inaugurating the 102 km Jowai-Ratacherra section of NH-06 in Meghalaya, the Union Minister asked the Chief Ministers of the northeastern states to hold monthly review meetings on land acquisition and environmental clearance for early implementation of road projects.

Meghalaya Chief Minister Conrad Sangma, Tripura Chief Minister Biplap Deb, Arunachal Deputy Chief Minister Chowna Mein and a host of Meghalaya cabinet ministers witnessed the inauguration among others

“Land acquisition is a state subject and therefore we need the cooperation of the respective states. If the state can make progress on land acquisition and environmental clearance fast, we assure you that we will immediately approve the road projects and start the project as early as possible,” Gadkari said.

Noting that prosperity comes from roads, the Union Minister said that industries and agriculture are the two very important sectors.

“If you want to develop industry and agriculture – the four important things are water, transport, road and communication and without them we don’t have industry and without industry we don’t have employment potential.”

Reaffirming that the central government is giving the “highest priority to development of the North East”, Gadkari said, “We want to implement all road projects in the region in a transparent and corruption-free manner. The government has decided to construct more railway lines and develop inland waterways to boost trade and commerce.”

The Union Minister said the Jowai-Ratacherra road will provide a link to the Assam border and boost the overall socio-economic development of the population of the Jaintia Hill districts.

He said trucks and heavy vehicles coming from the Brahmaputra Valley of Assam can move smoothly in a record time frame to Silchar in Barak Valley, within Assam and thus provide connectivity to Manipur, Mizoram, Tripura and Southern Assam.

Meghalaya Chief Minister Conrad Sangma said that the 102 Km Jowai-Ratacherra road of NH-06 will really go a long way in helping the people in that area besides people from Assam, Mizoram.

“With the area being a high economic activity zone, the completion of the road will go a long way in boosting the economy of the area in particular and Meghalaya as a whole,” Sangma said.

The NH-06 project, constructed at a cost of Rs 683 crore, will reduce the travel time between Jowai and Ratacherra from 4 hours to 2.5 hours. The highway passes through the coal and cement producing belt and is a lifeline for the landlocked states of the northeast.

–IANS

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