New Delhi, Sep 28 (IANS) The central government Thursday said a special road development programme covering 7,616 km of roads in the northeast has started.
Addressing members of the parliamentary consultative committee attached to his ministry here, Road Transport and Highways Minister T.R. Baalu said the government has already approved the first phase of the Special Accelerated Road Development Programme (SARDP-NE).
He said the Border Roads Organisation (BRO) and the Assam Public Works Department are involved in phase 'A' of the programme covering 1,310 km of roads at an investment of Rs.46.18 billion.
Under phase 'B' of the programme, 6,306 km of roads have been approved.
Baalu informed the members that 678-km length of the four-laned Northeast Corridor falls in the State of Assam and the National Highways Authority of India (NHAI) has already started work on it.
Contracts for 629-km length have been awarded at a project cost of Rs.52.18 billion.
Baalu said in view of the need to connect capitals of northeastern states with four-lane national highways, 1,246 km of roads have been identified.
'This will connect Agartala, Aizawl, Imphal and Itanagar,' he said.
Referring to the difficulties in the implementation of these programmes, Baalu said inadequately developed local contracting industry and lack of equipment cause delay in implementation of the projects.
There are also difficulties in land acquisition and availability of materials, he said, adding the state governments have imposed higher royalty charges on mining of the stone aggregates and sand.
The minister said the projects are facing difficulties in obtaining environmental and forest clearances due to alignment passing through wild life sanctuaries and national parks.