DIMAPUR, SEPTEMBER 10: As the demand for construction of the Foothill Road grows louder and the ultimatum served by NFHRCC gains maximum support from various tribal organizations, Chief Minister, Neiphiu Rio today convened a meeting with Deputy Chief Minister Y Patton and Departmental Officers and discussed the issue.
According to a press release issued by Principal Secretary Menukhol John, the Works & Housing Department has been directed to start the exercise to make the road pliable, while awaiting the approval of the proposal for declaration as a National Highway or under the Bharatmala Pariyojna.
The Department disclosed that the Administrative Approval for an amount of Rs. 20 crores has been accorded for taking up emergency works and Rs. 10 Crores has also been earmarked for the completion of the Doyang Bridge near Governor’s Camp during the current Financial Year.
The Department has therefore been instructed to start the tendering process, etc.
The Department said that the importance of having a road along the foothills of Nagaland is known to everyone and such a road, apart from convenience of travel, also has the potential to bring about socio-economic changes.
It said the State Government had initiated the proposal for construction of more than 300 km along the foot hill areas of the north-western part of the State encompassing large areas of Mon, Longleng, Mokokchung, Wokha, Dimapur and Peren Districts.
“As the State Government does not have sufficient resources of its own, the proposal was actively taken up for funding at various forums. This long felt need of the State to construct a road along the foothill areas of the State is still yet to be made operational. The State Government has, and is, committed to see that this is made into reality. This commitment also forms part of the Nagaland Vision 2030”, the release stated.
Towards this end, the Government had, during 2013-14, tied up funding of Rs 235.00 crores for the Foothill connectivity covering a distance of 342 km through the Special Plan Assistance (SPA). Accordingly, works were taken up from 2013-14 onwards as per the budget allocation of Rs. 4000.00 lakhs during 2013-14 and Rs. 2700.00 Lakhs during 2014-15, totaling to Rs. 6700.00 lakhs (Rs. 67.00 cr). The Department regretted that the SPA funding was discontinued by Government of India from 2015-16 onwards therefore all items of work projected in the proposal could not be taken up.
Stating that the State Government in all earnestness has been continuously pursuing with the Central Government for release of the balance funds under the SPA so that the incomplete works are completed, the Department said during 2014-15, the State Government submitted the proposal to the Ministry of Road Transport & Highways (MoRTH) for declaration of Foothill road as National Highway. However, the declaration of new National Highways is yet to be finalized.
It also informed that the proposal was again taken up with Union Minister, Road Transport and Highways by Nagaland Chief Minister on January 19, 2021 for taking up the project under Bharatmala Pariyojna project on priority. The Chief Minister has also personally met the Union Minister on the matter.
The Chief Minister has again taken up the issue with the Prime Minister of India on September 6, 2021 for consideration, it said and claimed that the Government is making all efforts to get the Project completed.
(Page News Service)