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DELHI, Mar 23 (NEPS): Difficult and hilly terrain, geographical location and short working season of the North Eastern Region (NER) pose a challenge to development of optimal infrastructure and communication links within the region and with the rest of the country. The infrastructural bottlenecks inter alia include inadequate road and railway connectivity, power transmission and distribution, telecom connectivity and absence of airports in the States.
Ministry of Road Transport & Highways, under its Special Accelerated Road Development Programme – North East (SARDP-NE), out of 1427 km, 989 km roads have been completed during the last three years and the current year.
Apart from the development under SARDP-NE, about 637 km length of NHs covered under NHDP Phases- I and II in the State of Assam is being improved to 4-lane standard as part of East West Corridor. Works in about 597 km have been completed so far. Also, improvement of NH-44 from Jowai to Ratacherra (length 104 km) in the State of Meghalaya to 2 lane with paved shoulder is in progress by National Highway Authority of India (NHAI).
Ministry of Railways has sanctioned two new rail doubling projects totalling 283 km in NER in the last three years.
Airport Authority of India (AAI) is constructing a Greenfield airport at Pakyong (Sikkim) suitable for operation of ATR-72 aircraft. Also, AAI has planned operationalization of Tezu airport in Arunachal Pradesh for ATR-72 type of aircraft operations.
Under Comprehensive Telecom Development Plan, Department of Telecom envisages providing mobile coverage to 8621 identified uncovered villages by installation of about 6673 mobile towers, installation of 321 mobile tower sites along National Highways and strengthening of transmission network in the NER.
Ministry of Power is implementing Comprehensive Scheme for Strengthening of Transmission & Distribution Systems in Arunachal Pradesh and Sikkim at a total estimated cost of Rs. 4754.42 crore with the completion schedule of 48 months i.e. by December, 2018. The Cabinet has accorded investment approval to North Eastern Region Power System Improvement Project (NERPSIP) for six States (viz. Assam, Manipur, Meghalaya, Mizoram, Tripura and Nagaland for strengthening of the Intra-State Transmission and Distribution System (33 kv and above) at a total cost of Rs. 5111.33 crore with the completion schedule of 48 months i.e. by December, 2018.
In addition, Ministry of Development of North Eastern Region including North Eastern Council provides funds to State Governments to bridge infrastructural gaps in North East. Under NLCPR scheme Ministry of DoNER has sanctioned 169 projects at an approved cost of Rs. 2791.44 crore and North Eastern Council has sanctioned 41 projects at an approved cost of Rs. 500.582 crore, during the last three years and the current year.
This was stated by the Minister of State (Independent Charge) for Development of North Eastern Region (DoNER), MoS PMO, Personnel, Public Grievances, Pensions, Atomic Energy and Space, Dr. Jitendra Singh in written reply to a question by Shrimati Ranee Narah in the Rajya Sabha today.