Union Minister for Road Transport, Highways and MSMEs Nitin Gadkari on Monday laid the foundation stones for 13 highway projects and inaugurated a Road safety project in the North-Eastern State of Manipur through video conference.
Chief Minister N Biren Singh presided over the virtual function, attended by Union Minister Dr Jitendra Singh, V K Singh, Ministers of the Manipur State, several MPs, MLAs and senior officers from the Centre and the State.
These projects involve a Road length of 316 kilometers, with construction value of about Rs 3000 crore. Paving the way for development of Manipur, these roads will enhance better connectivity, convenience and economic growth in this NE State.
Speaking on the occasion, Gadkari said, keeping with Prime Minister’s desire to develop infrastructure in the NE, we have undertaken several projects in the region. He assured many new Road projects in Manipur in near future. The Minister announced that the DPR for an elevated road in Imphal is being prepared and within 2-3 months work on this project will begin.
He asked the CM to expedite land acquisition and utility shifting work in the State urgently, so that road projects could be hastened up. On issue Central Road Fund (CRF) also, he assured release of additional funds of about Rs 250 crore as soon as the utilization certificate is received from the State.
The Minister informed that dredging has been completed in Brahmputra and Barak rivers, and it is now possible to Transport people and consignments through waterways. He suggested linking of Imphal with this river route, which is barely 50-60 kms, for getting added benefits for the State economy. He also called for adopting alternate fuel for public transport in the NE region, it being cheaper as well as environment friendly.
Gadkari highlighted the role of MSME sector in improving the employment and economic scenario in Manipur. Informing about the recent expansion in the definition of MSME units, he exhorted the CM to utilise the opportunity and explore export potential of handicrafts, handloom, and honey, bamboo products etc which can provide employment to large number of people.
Chief Minister Biren Singh said, Manipur being a hill-locked State with heavy rains requires top quality Road network to withstand the vagaries of nature. He welcomed the decision of MoRTH in favour of a 25 km elevated Road in Imphal. He, however, pointed out the need for four-laning of Imphal-Loktak highway, which has heavy traffic, due to it being a famous tourist attraction.
Dr Jitendra Singh said, today’s event gives three important messages. That the North East continues to be the priority of the govt, that infrastructure works have continued in this region despite all odds, and that it is in keeping with the PMs call from Lal Kila for development of Rs 100 lakh crore infrastructure in the country.
V K Singh said, under the Act East Policy, the government has devoted special attention to the north eastern States. He said, Manipur plays an important role as it shares international border with Myanmar. The trilateral highway connecting India, Myanmar and Thailand starts from Manipur. He said, efforts are on to ensure seamless traffic movement between the three countries. He added that completion of two bridges over the rivers Barak and Maku on NH 37 by March next will provide connectivity of the State with rest of the country.