SILCHAR: The East-West corridor, a dream project of former Prime Minister late Atal Bihari Vajpayee, seems to move another step closer to completion, following the approval of an amount of Rs 1674 crore by the National Highway Authority of India (NHAI) for the construction of two stretches in southern Assam’s Dima Hasao district.
The corridor project to connect south Assam’s Silchar with Gujarat’s Saurashtra (via road) was announced by Vajpayee on October 10, 1998. The foundation stone of the project was laid by the then Minister for Surface Transport B.C. Khanduri and Union Finance Minister Jaswant Singh in 2004. The 3,300 km Silchar-Saurashtra road was supposed to be completed by 2007.
Union Minister for Road Transport and Highways Nitin Gadkari informed about allocation of the fund to Silchar BJP MP Rajdeep Roy via a letter earlier this week. The letter, a copy of which is available with EastMojo, said two stretches including the Narimbanglo-Jatinga section and Jatinga-Harangajao section of NH-54 were approved under Bharatmala Pariyojana on Hybrid Annuity Mode and a sum of Rs. 1674 crore was approved for construction work of the two stretches. The work will be started soon, the letter by Gadkari stated.
MP Rajdeep Roy told reporters that the ‘East-West corridor’ is a special project as it was started by late Atal Bihari Vajpayee. “It is expected that the road (East-West corridor) would be properly commutable within the next few years,” Roy said, adding that an Ahmedabad-based construction agency Dineschandra R. Agarwal Infracon Private Limited had been assigned for the road project.
The regional officer of the NHAI, North East Zone, Alok Kumar, had told newsmen in Dima Hasao in February this year that “The work of the Narimbanglo-Harangajao (via Jatinga) stretch would probably begin in June and the road would be built using Japanese technology. Some changes will be made in the route’s alignment too,” he had said.
Notably, construction of the corridor has been completed in other parts of the country, barring the two stretches (Narimbanglo-Jatinga stretch and Jatinga-Harangajao stretch – around 49.23km combining the two portions) and another portion from Balacherra to Harangajao (about 25.15km). The contruction work of the Balacherra-Harangajao stretch, which falls in both Cachar and Dima Hasao districts, is going on and it has been claimed by many BJP leaders that the stretch’s work would be wrapped up within March, 2023.
The Balacherra-Harangajao stretch used to be around 31 km-long earlier, but it was reduced to 25.15 km after the route was redesigned in some areas owing to various geomorphic factors. Landslips, especially during the monsoons, and heavy to very-heavy rainfall have been the major reasons behind the tardy pace of construction of this stretch and the other two incomplete stretches over the years.
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