Asserting the government’s commitment to improved connectivity and faster growth in the Northeast, Union minister of road transport and highways and shipping, Nitin Gadkari, inaugurated a three-lane Brahmaputra bridge at Saraighat in Guwahati on January 29.
Built at a cost of Rs 475 crore, the new bridge over river Brahmaputra with a length of 1493.58 meter is expected to significantly ease the problem of traffic congestion at Jalukbari and Amingaon points.
Among major announcements, the Union minister declared 1,253 km roads in Assam as National Highway where the central government will invest Rs 15,000 crore. This includes various roads in presently depleted conditions.
The Union minister also announced that the Centre has increased the central roads fund from earlier sanctioned limit of Rs 450 crores to Rs 800 crores.
Gadkari also laid the foundation stone for development of Barak river as National Waterways 16 for shipping and navigation. The work includes fairway development of Bhanga-Silchar stretch (70 km) in Phase I and Silchar-Lakhimpur stretch in Phase II.
Considering the demand for a comprehensive development of surface, waterways and inland transport system in the state, the Union minister announced that the central government will invest more than Rs 1 lakh crore in construction of roads and Rs 2,000 crore for augmenting inland water transport system in the state.
The Union minister further announced that in the next two years, NHDCL will invest Rs 8,000 crore for construction of 143 km of roads including important bridges and National Highways. These projects include bridge over Barak river at Badarpur ghat near Silchar over NH-44, bridge connecting Dhubri and Phulbari on NH-127, 4 lane laning of Balchera-Harangajaw section on NH-54 at East-West corridor, 4 lane bridge over Brahmaputra from Gohpur to Numaligarh and Dholabari to Jamuguri over Jiabharali river.
Gadkari stated that DPR has already been prepared for the construction of 1,722 km roads in the state with an investment of Rs 20,000 crore. He said that the ministry will carry out dredging of Brahmaputra river from Sadia to Dhubri and effectively use the silt extracted during dredging for development of Brahmaputra Express Highway, which will be built as an access control highway.
Asserting that the central government accords top priority to waterway expansion, Gadkari announced construction of floating terminals on the Brahmaputra National Waterways up to Bangladesh. This will facilitate transportation of cargo, cold storage and boost trade and commerce in the state. Gadkari also announced construction of 5 Roll-on-Roll-off (Ro-Ro) terminal in the state and stated that Ro-Ro service has already been commenced between Dhubri-Hatsingimari on river Brahmaputra.
The Union minister further announced Centre’s approval for Sivasagar-Desangmukh-Tekeliphuta-Dhakuakhana-North Lakhimpur-Majuli-Jorhat road project and another project for relieving traffic congestion on Guwahati by-pass by constructing new 4-lane road from Changsari to Kuruwa along the north bank of Brahmaputra with a 6-lane bridge over Brahmaputra between Kuruwa and Narengi which can be connected thereafter to the East-West corridor near Khanapara.
Gadkari announced projects for development of NH-36, strengthening stretches from Agomoni to Golokganj, Gauripur to Panbari and Bangalipara on Bilasipara by-pass to Tillapara covering 63 km on NH-31, Solmari-Goalpara road, work of Ratachera-Churaibari section of NH-44 and work for flood prone Samarajan area of NH-52.
The minister reiterated the government’s commitment to connect Majuli island with Jorhat with a bridge for which DPR is already being prepared.
Speaking on the occasion, Assam chief minister Sarbananda Sonowal reiterated the government’s commitment to speedy and timely implementation of the projects. The chief minister said that the schemes announced by the Union government will benefit the entire Northeast.