Union road and transport minister Nitin Gadkari on Monday announced that the government will spend Rs 1.5 lakh crore for improving national highways in the Northeast states.

“The central government will spend Rs 1.5 lakh crore on improving national highways in the northeast states. This will include about Rs 17,000 crore in Sikkim; Rs 48,221 crore in Assam; Rs 20,000 crore in Nagaland; Rs 12,000 crore Mizoram; Rs 22,000 crore in Manipur; Rs 8,000 crore in Tripura; Rs 10,000 crore in Arunachal Pradesh; and Rs 8,000 crore in Meghalaya,” the minister said while inaugurating the 102-km Jowai-Ratacherra section of NH-6 in Meghalaya.

The 102-km two-laned stretch of the highway has been constructed at the cost of Rs 683 crore. It has three major bridges across rivers – Alpha, Lubha and Umproshung – along with 34 minor ones, 441 culverts and a 123-metre-long tunnel.

The Union minister said the Jowai-Ratacherra road will boost the overall socio-economic development of the population of the Jaintia Hill districts.

He said trucks and heavy vehicles coming from the Brahmaputra Valley of Assam can move smoothly in a record time to Silchar in Barak Valley, within Assam and thus provide connectivity to Manipur, Mizoram, Tripura and Southern Assam.

The travel time from Jowai to Ratacherra will be reduced from 4 hours to 2.5 hours.

The minister further said land acquisition and environmental clearances were the two major hurdles delaying the road infrastructure projects in the Northeast states.

He asked the chief ministers to hold monthly review meetings on land acquisition and environmental clearance for early implementation of road projects.

Meghalaya chief minister Conrad Sangma, Tripura chief minister Biplap Deb, Arunachal Pradesh deputy chief minister Chowna Mein and a host of Meghalaya cabinet ministers were present at the inauguration ceremony.

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