Rs 20,000 cr highway projects to be executed in NE

Guwahati: Union Minister for Road Transport, Highways and Shipping Nitin Gadkari on Saturday announced that highway projects worth Rs 20,000 crore was being initiated in the Northeast this year in tune with Modi government’s focus on expediting development of the region.
After laying the foundation of the regional office of the National Highway Infrastructure Development Corporation Limited (NHIDCL) in Guwahati, Gadkari small size packages worth in the range of Rs 40 crore to Rs 100 crore would be introduced in the region to enable local contractors to take up road projects given that contractors in the region are not found to be technically sound to take up high cost projects. He said normally the road projects in the N-E region were of high cost because of the unique hilly topography and presence of many rivers in the region.
He said the NHIDCL aimed to achieve the target of construction of 30 km road per day in two years to improve upon the current rate of construction of 12 km road per day.
Gadkari who was on a three day visit to Northeast to review progress of on-going road projects and announce new projects for the region, said focus was given on technology up gradation in order to reduce cost of construction and time span of projects as well as improve quality on work.
He said it had been made mandatory for all states to introduce the practice of e-tendering for bringing in transparency in awarding of road projects funded by the Central government.
He said that for expediting the process of land acquisition for construction for roads, the Central government has increased the compensation rate both in rural and urban areas.
“In rural areas land acquisition compensation is paid at four times the rate prescribed by the local land revenue officer while in urban areas it is paid at two times the rate prescribed by the local land revenue officer. It is estimated that the compensation cost has increased from Rs 70,000 crore to Rs 1.8 lakh crore.
But it has helped reduction of litigation cost as well as project cost since cost escalation due project delay could be arrested to a great extent,” Gadkari said adding that the state governments have been asked to accordingly increase the land acquisition rates for road projects.
The ministry is studying international codes for adoption in construction of roads, bridges and flyovers while efforts are being put in for capacity building of contractors in the country.
Gadkari said the NHIDCL was ready to fund even state highways of national importance provided the concerned state governments shoulder the responsibility of land acquisition and procurement of forest and environment clearance.
Such projects after completion will be made national highways for maintenance by the NHIDCL.
In view of destruction of plantation induced by construction of highways, the ministry has decided to engage plantation contractors for carry out replantation drive along one lakh kilometre length of national highways that will open employment avenues for about 5 lakh people.

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