Assam East-West Corridor To Be Completed By End of 2014

Guwahati, February 5: Assam’s Union Minister for Road Transport and Highways, Dr CP Joshi on Tuesday said law and order, and land acquisition problems delayed construction of the 670-km long East-West Corridor. Even so, the project is expected to be completed by December 2014.

In a press conference held in Guwahati, the Union Minister said that 431 km of road in the project was already complete.

“The remaining length would likely be completed by December 2014,” the Union Minister said.

Attending a review meeting, Dr CP Joshi urged all the State Governments of the North East (NE) Region and the Border Roads Organisation (BRO) to step up their efforts to achieve the prescribed targets. The ambitious Special Accelerated Road Development Programme (SARDP-NE) was taken up to improve road connectivity in the North Eastern States.

“SARDP-NE programme was planned in two phases, covering 10,141 km, including the Arunachal Pradesh package, in which Phase A of SARDP-NE will cover 6,418 km at an estimated cost of Rs.33,688 crore,” the Union Minister said.

Dr Joshi asked the State Governments to accord greater priority towards preparation of accurate DPRs, award works to contractors only after 90% of the land required has been taken over and to ensure that environment and forest clearances are acquired timely.

The Union Minister said those projects where clearances are received would be sanctioned on priority.

Dr Joshi further said that the Public Work Departments (PWD) of all the States in the Region would require capacity enhancement so as to provide impetus to the programme.

The Union Minister lauded the initiatives of the Assam Government regarding mines and mineral rules to tackle the problem of non-availability of aggregates.

He exhorted the other North Eastern States to similarly accord priority to identification of quarry sites and make these available to the executing agencies, and contractors.

“There is a need to enhance the pace of expenditure, adopt new technologies and provide training to representatives of the implementing agencies,” Dr Joshi said.

On Monday Dr Joshi reviewed the progress of work under the project, to identify bottlenecks in the implementation of the programme and to facilitate corrective measures.

Hemanta Kumar Nath is a correspondent in Assam, India, who reports on local news in Assam, the north east Indian state.