Progress of National Highways in North-East reviewed

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New Delhi, Oct 2 (UNI) The National Highway Authority of India (NHAI) will take over the ongoing work of East West corridor in Assam within a fortnight to expedite the completion of the project and will deploy the ground level officers of the Assam government for the purpose after prioritising the areas where it needs to start work immediately.

This was decided at a meeting held recently at Guwahati to review the progress of execution of National Highway Works and the works relating to improvement of other roads approved by the Centre under various schemes and programmes of the Ministry of Shipping, Road Transport&Highways.

The meeting chaired by Road Transport and Highways secretary Brahm Dutt was attended by the Commissioners and Secretaries of Arunachal Pradesh, Assam, Manipur, Meghalaya, Mizoram, Nagaland, Sikkim and Tripura. The Chief Engineers of the PWDs of the States and officials from the Border Roads Organisation (BRO) and NHAI also attended the meeting.

The issues which have adversely affected progress of East West corridor in Assam were identified as non-completion of land acquisition, diversion of forestland, shifting of telephone and electricity lines and security threat to workers and engineers.

The Additional Chief Secretary of Assam, however, assured Mr Dutt that the possession of the rest of the 43 per cent land would be given to the NHAI within a fortnight. It was decided that the State government would direct the ground level officers of various departments to complete the works concerning their respective areas like shifting of utilities etc on war-footing.

Mr Dutt also directed the NHAI officials to ensure that the contractors speed up the construction work on the ground as the working season is going to start now and also to ensure that the project is completed by April 2010 as targeted.

The Special Accelerated Road Development Programme (SARDP-NE) for the North Eastern States, especially the construction of Phase 'A' of the programme and preparation of Detailed Project Reports for the roads included in Phase 'B' was also reviewed comprehensively at the meeting. The issues of coordination between BRO and the States of Nagaland, Manipur and Tripura were resolved after deliberations. It was also decided that the State level monitoring committee headed by the Chief Secretary would be set up in all the states to monitor the programme on monthly basis.

The secretary pointed out that the States have not been able to make use of the sanctioned funds for maintenance of the National Highways. The Chief Engineers and Commissioners of the States and also the officials of the Border Road Organisation assured him that the entire fund allocated for improvement and repair of national highways would be utilised satisfactorily with the onset of working season.

He also laid emphasis on construction of quality roads and directed that proper system and procedure should be evolved to ensure that all the roads are constructed to international standards as government has approved projects with a high per km cost of Rs two crore and above under SARDP-NE.

UNI

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