No NH in North-East, Himalayan regions yet: Govt

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New Delhi, Nov 28 (UNI) The Government today declined to announce any stretch of road in the Himalayan region or in the North-East as a national highway saying the mere declaration will not serve any purpose as the improvement of all the roads in these regions was underway.

Replying during the question hour in the Lok Sabha, Shipping, Road Transport and Highways Minister T R Baalu said, ''the North-East region is on our priority and there will be no constraint of funds for the completion of those projects. These projects will be carried out as per the declared policy of the Prime Minister Manmohan Singh towards this region.'' He said at present, the total length of National Highways in the country is 65,590 Km. Huge resources were required to develop the existing highways.

He said the highway starting from NH-31 near Siliguri and joining NH-31C near Salsabari in Tripura via Fulbari, Mainaguri, Dhupguri, Falakata and Sonapur in West Bengal (WB) has a length of 110 Km.

The highway starting from NH-47 near Kalamassery, crossing NH-17 and terminating at Vallarpadam in the State of Kerala has a length of 17.2 Km. The identified route in the East-West Corridor of the National Highway Development Programme (NHDP) Phase II in West Bengal was a realigned route. The cost of upgradation to 4 lane standard was likely to be Rs 1000 crore based on the average cost of Rs 8 to Rs 10 crore per Km.

He said the project cost for construction of the stretch to provide connectivity to the new ICTT at Vallarpadam in Kerala was assessed at Rs 557 crore.

Responding to a question on the status of the Steelwell road project, Mr Baalu said it was going on as per schedule and expected to be completed in a year's time.

UNI

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