Need to integrate NE with rest of country: Muniyappa

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New Delhi, July 2 (UNI) Minister of State for Shipping, Road Transport and Highways K H Muniyappa today called for integrating the North Eastern region with the rest of the country by improving regional and intra-regional connectivity and accessibility.

"There is a need to adequately strengthen, expand and maintain the network of roads and highways, provide improved connectivity and accessibility of the region as well as improve the intra-regional connectivity covering villages, inhabitations and backward and remote areas by roads, thus ensuring uninterrupted traffic flows at all times," he said while speaking at a function organised by the Ministry of North Eastern Region for releasing the document 'North East Vision 2020' here.

He said his ministry had started special programmes to strength and expand the networks of road and highways such as the upgradation of a 11,500-km-long stretches of primary road network at an estimated cost of Rs 70,000 crore.

The roads will be completed by 2015, the majority by 2013 he added.

The initiative would integrate the region with rest of the country and would also help in developing local trade and industry, Mr Muniyappa said.

Informing that the 678-km-long, four-lane highway from Silchar to Srirampur in Assam is being constructed at a cost of Rs 6,000 -crore as part of the East West corridor, the minister said the high speed high capacity highway would efficiently connect the region with the rest of the country. The intra-regional network of primary roads is being improved under the Special Accelerated Road Development Programme, called SARDP-NE. Upgradation of the 706-km national highway stretches to complete the four-lane connectivity to all capital towns of the North East States, except Gangtok, is proposed under NHDP-III. Gangtok is to be linked by an alternate highway, in addition to the existing NH 31A. Work on about 3,000 km length costing about Rs 19,000 crore has begun and delivery of completed roads started from 2008.

He said during 2007-08, about 150 km stretches of important roads were completed and 330 km roads will be completed during 2008-09. A package covering about 3,200 km roads of Arunachal Pradesh has been prepared by the ministry, which was announced by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on January 31 last at Itanagar.

Giving details of the various national highways for the development of the region, including the Phase A and Phase B of SARDP-NE, he said the current year will see major change in the quality of roads in the North-East and hoped that the vision document will be a trend-setter for the region's overall socio-economic development.

UNI SD SYU RK1905

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