Central Govt. plans to bolster north east highways
The Ministry of Road Transport and Highways is set to upgrade 10,100 km of highways in the North East. The region, still underdeveloped in terms of road connectivity, is expecting greater traffic and ease of transport through the upgrade.
Among the areas to receive the highest priority is land-locked Arunachal Pradesh which also borders China. The state, which shares 1,030 km of border with China will have 2,770 km of roads being built by the Border Roads Organisation (BRO). In addition to Arunachal Pradesh, the Ministry has also commenced work on the extension and widening of NH44. The highway will now be extended to the India-Bangladesh border town Sabroom in Tripura, allowing for better access to the Chittagong port, which is located 75 km away from Sabroom. Additionally, work for the construction of a 150 m long bridge over Feni river in the border town is on to provide better access to the port. But experts believe that these projects will not be easy to execute given topgraphical constraints. As such, costs are expected to exceed the traditional yardstick of Rs 3.5 crore needed to be invested per km of road.
The central government is mulling a slew of measures to expedite the development of these infrastructure projects. They include the appointment of an additional director general with greater technical knowledge and financial powers. The ministry is also looking at increasing the number of chief engineers employed with the BRO.