The plan to have a new direct national highway connection between Nagaon and Itanagar is well thought out. But given the fact that a mere 18-km stretch between Khanapara and Jalukbari in the outskrits of Guwahati has become an unending road construction affair full of lame excuses and 14 long years have been spent to complete 90 per cent of that short stretch, one wonders how many years the proposed Nagaon-Itanagar highway would take to become a reality!
GUWAHATI, Oct 1: Nagaon of Asom and Itanagar of Arunachal Pradesh will be directly connected by a 190-km-long four-lane national highway, 170 km of which, including an additional bridge over the Brahmaputra near Kaliabor and a new bridge over the Jia Bharali river, will fall in Asom. The road will be constructed under the Special Accelerated Road Development Project (Northeast) (SARDP-NE). This apart, four-lanning of three stretches of national highways of Asom aggregating to 274 km — Doboka-Dimapur (124 km), Silchar-Lailapur (40) km and Rattacherra-Churaibari (110 km) — has been undertaken under the National Highway Development Project-III (NHDP-III). For the schemes under SARDP-NE, Asom got Rs 1,393 crore.
Union Minister of Road Transport and Highway Kamal Nath, however, said the works of national highways suffered delay in Asom due to delay in land acquisition, relocation of utility services, forest clearance, cutting of trees and other factors. “This continues to be a grey area,” he said, and asked Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi to see that the Revenue Department, Forest Department and the Assam State Electricity Board (ASEB) work in better coordination.
Under SARDP-NE, Asom has 539 km of national highways aggregating to Rs 1393.58 crore for improvement. Kamal Nath said Asom has been the biggest beneficiary of SARDP-NE. “The national highways passing through remote and backward areas of North Lakhimpur, Dhemaji, NC Hills, Hailakandi, Dibrugarh and Tinsukia districts, which hitherto remained neglected, have been attended under this flagship programme,” he said.
Nath further said the proposed Numaligarh-Dibrugarh four-lane highway has hindrances like Thowradol Temple and Naamdang Bridge roadblock in the alignment and the State Government should finalize the alignment and inform the Centre of the matter. THE SENTINEL