Thursday, December 31, 2009

Ministry of Development of North Eastern Region (DoNER)'s 2009 activities

GUWAHATI, Dec 31: During the year 2009, the Ministry of Development of North Eastern Region (DoNER) has carried forward its commitment to the people of North East for overall development of the region. The Ministry also took many new initiatives for the development of the region.

PIB sources said, beginning from the month of January, the fifth Plenary Session of North Eastern Council was held at New Delhi under the Chairmanship of DoNER Minister and North East Council (NEC) Chairman Mani Shankar Aiyar. The governors and chief ministers of the North-eastern States, members of NEC, Planning Commission and the State Governments of NE participated in the session. Various issues related to the development of the region were discussed. Some of the decisions taken during the session include –– redrafting of the proposed 11th Five Year Plan of the North Eastern Council by incorporating the views of Member States, the NEC should directly negotiate with Air India to work out for the dedicated airlines in the NE etc.

A meeting to review the progress made by the Nodal Officers of the Ministry with the line Ministries/Departments was conducted by the DoNER Minister and during the month, an amount of Rs 32.39 crore was released under NLCPR programme of the Ministry to the Northeast for several infrastructure projects.

Another meeting, which was chaired by DoNER Secretary on February 17, 2009 with Heads of Missions of some of the Latin American and Caribbean countries to acquaint them about possible linkages in handicraft & handloom sector as it exist in the NE was conducted.

In the month of September, the DoNER Minister took stock of the progress of important railway projects in the North-East Region, particularly the broad gauge conversion of Lumding-Silchar-Jiribam railway line, at Lumding, Assam. The meeting was attended by senior officers of the Northeast Frontier Railways, DoNER, Minister of Home Affairs, Government of Assam and security agencies.

The Lumding-Silchar-Jiribam gauge project, sanctioned in 1996-97, was declared a National Project in 2004. The total length of the line is 368.48 km. The critical activities in the project include Dayang bridge, tunnel no. 10 between km 100.6 to 103.8, bridge no. 543 at km. 143.5 and bridge no. 572 on river Barak. Dayank bridge is the longest bridge in the section with span configuration of 11x61 metre and pier height of 55 metre. The longest tunnel in the section is tunnel no. 10 with a length of 3235 metre.

BK Handique has emphasized the need to overcome all the hurdles with a view to complete the project by 2012. A meeting was convened by the DoNER secretary to discuss the progress of implementation of PM’s Announcements pertaining to Arunachal Pradesh, Assam, Manipur and Tripura. He also took meetings to review the status of 27 key infrastructure projects identified by the PMO for expeditious implementation.

The Ministry also sanctioned 11 new infrastructure projects with a total approved cost of Rs 91.57 crore during the month under NLCPR. An amount of 102.63 crore was released during this period of the NE States against the total budgetary provision of 700 crore under the Scheme. The Ministry has also retained seven projects for techno-economic examination.

The eight road sector projects in the 27 key infrastructure projects in the NER which are being monitored by the PMO include the Dhola-Sadiya bridge and Numali-Gohpur bridge (Assam) and four-laning of NH-37 on the Nagaon-Jorhat-Dibrugarh stretch.

According to PIB sources the main reason of delay include issues relating to land acquisition, forest and environmental clearances, non-availability of resourceful contractors, inter-State coordination. It was decided that each of the issues would be taken at the appropriate level with the appropriate authority. This Ministry will also facilitate inter-State coordination and issuance of clearances.

The Ministry released an amount of Rs. 12.08 crore for different infrastructure projects in Assam during the month under its Scheme of Non-lapsable Central Pool of Resources. With this the cumulative releases for the financial year stand at Rs 235 crore. With the recent streamlining of the NLCPR guidelines, the entire process of sanction and release is likely to get a fillip.

In the month of November, at the insistence of the Ministry, the North East Development Finance Corporation (NEDFi) took steps to harness the full potential of the upcoming Assam Gas Cracker Project. They carried out an elaborate study proposing an Action Plan for promoting downstream plastic and allied industries in Assam and other States of the Northeast. The Ministry itself has trained a large number of youth in plastic technology and entrepreneurship and is, through NEC, exploring to set up a plastic park in the State of Assam.

The Ministry sanctioned five new projects with an approved cost of Rs 31.38 crore under NLCPR. Apart from these, 43 projects, with a tentative cost of Rs 534 crore have been retained for techno-economic examination. Although, an amount of Rs 29.39 crore was released to the States during November 2009 under the scheme. THE SENTINEL

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