Determined to boost the highway connectivity in the largely neglected north-east region, the Narendra Modi-led government hopes to spend a total of Rs 2 lakh crore in its tenure till 2019 for this, road transport and highways minister Nitin Gadkari said on Wednesday. “The North-East is a priority for us. In the North-East and Assam, our target is to start projects of at least Rs 1.5 lakh crore through NHIDCL by 2019 and another Rs 50,000 crore through the state PWDs. Work has started for over Rs 50,000 crore in the region,” Gadkari said.
The minister was speaking to reporters after the Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs chaired by the Prime Minister gave its approval for upgrade and widening of the 65-km Imphal-Moreh section of NH-39 in Manipur at a cost of Rs 1.630.29 crore. While Asian Development Bank would provide loan assistance to the tune of 60% of the project cost and the remaining will be spent by the Centre.
“The highway will connect Manipur with Mayanmar and from here we can go to Thailand, Malaysia, Indonesia and Singapore,” Gadkari said. This can be a gateway for India for south-east Asia. Quite naturally, this will boost trade & business and employment,” Gadkari said. The minister said India has already good trade relations with Mayanmar and Indonesia. Now, because of this road connectivity, it is going to create more trade and employment.
The project is being developed with ADB’s loan assistance under the South Asian Sub-Regional Economic Cooperation (SASEC) Road Connectivity Investment Program which aims at upgradation of road infrastructure in Bangladesh, Bhutan, Nepal and India (BBIN) in order to improve the regional connectivity among BBIN nations.
Based on the existing and projected traffic requirements, the national highway will be widened to four-lane between Lilong village and Wanginj village, while the stretch between Wanginj village to Khongkhang will be upgraded to two-lane with paved shoulder.