Connectivity essential for development of North East: Dr Jitendra Singh
India’s Development of North-Eastern Region (DoNER) Minister Dr Jitendra Singh said that Improvement in road, rail, air, communication, waterways and telecom network are essential for development for North East States.
“Ministry of DoNER is coordinating various activities including connectivity projects of the line ministries. Ministry of DoNER and NEC also provide support for bridging of infrastructural gaps,” said Dr Singh in written reply to a question in the Lok Sabha.
“To improve the telecom capacity in the country, the Government has set up International Internet Gateway (IIG) at Agartala, by availing the service from the Bangladesh Submarine Company Ltd. After the formal opening of the International Internet Gateway, Tripura will be the third state in the country to have such a gateway after Mumbai and Chennai. All the North Eastern States are going to benefit from this internet gateway,” he said.
“Comprehensive Telecom Development Plan for North-Eastern Region at a cost of Rs.5336.18 crore under implementation under which mobile connectivity in Arunachal Pradesh and 2 Districts of Assam and in other States of North East along with seamless mobile connectivity along all National Highways and augmentation of District optical fibre connectivity are planned to be completed by March, 2018,” Dr Singh added.
“Ministry of Road Transport and Highways has formulated the Special Accelerated Road Development Programme for North-East (SARDP-NE), for upgradation of 10141 km road stretches of National Highways and State Roads in the year 2005-06. Out of 10141 km of roads included under SARDP-NE, 6418 km has been approved by the Government for implementation under Phase ‘A’ and the Arunachal Pradesh Package of Roads & Highways, and balance 3723 km has been approved only for preparation of DPR under Phase ‘B’. The projects are targeted for completion by March, 2017 for Phase ‘A’ and March, 2018 for Arunachal Pradesh Package,” he said.
There are certain projects like East West Highway, Rail link to Gangtok and Shillong which have been pending since long. As far as the road projects are concerned the Special Accelerated Road Development Programme – North East (SARDP-NE) Phase ‘B’ is yet to take off.
Ministry of Railways has taken up 19 major railway projects consisting of 12 new lines, 3 gauge conversions and 4 doubling projects in North Eastern Region. Recently, Ministry of Railways has completed four major projects ie., (i) Harmuti-Naharlagun – connectivity to Itanagar, (ii) Dudhnoi-Mendipathar – Meghalya (iii) Rangia-Murkongselek – gauge conversion – north bank of Brahmaputra River (iv) Lumding-Silchar – Gauge conversion completed. Two major projects about to be completed: (i) Arunachal – Jiribam – Gauge conversion, (ii) Katakhal-Bhairabi – Gauge conversion.
Ministry of Civil Aviation has taken up the following major/important works in North East States:
• Greenfield Airport at Pakyong- 89% of the operational area works are completed, 39 % terminal building and other city side works are completed. Tentative date of completion of the project is September, 2017.
• Upgradation of Teju airport – 55% completed. Operational area works almost completed. Terminal building and city side works are in progress. The tentative date of completion is December, 2017.
• Integrated office complex for AAI/DGCA, Guwahati – 99 % works are completed. The tentative date of completion is April, 2016.
• Extension of runway at Dibrugarh – Works awarded. Mobilization in progress. The tentative date of completion is November, 2017.
• Resurfacing of runway at Silchar – Works awarded in Nov. 2015. Mobilization in progress. The tentative date of completion is November, 2016.
• Extension of Apron at Imphal – 93% works completed, Apron portion fully completed. Tentative date of completion is April, 2016.
• Boundary wall for Shillong Airport – Tentative date of completion is December, 2017.
Ministry of DoNER, through North Eastern Council (NEC), has approved seven important airport development projects through viability gap funding to improve the air connectivity. It is also providing viability gap funding for unserved airports.
Inland Waterways Authority of India (M/o Shipping) has taken up the following major/important works in North East States:
• A permanent New Ro-Ro terminal at Dhubri is under construction and the target date of completion is August, 2016.
• Bank protection at Jogighopa project has completed.
• Construction of two Ro-Ro vessels commenced and tentative date of completion is May, 2017.
• Construction of Ship Repair facility at Pandu, Guwahati commenced and the tentative date of completion is December, 2018.
106 new National Waterways has been declared by the Government in which 20 rivers of NER has also been included in this list.