Centre Threatens To ‘de-scope’ National Highway Projects In Nagaland If Land Issue Isn’t Solved - Eastern Mirror
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Centre threatens to ‘de-scope’ national highway projects in Nagaland if land issue isn’t solved

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By EMN Updated: Oct 31, 2023 8:38 pm

Deputy CM TR Zeliang says Nagaland government is framing land laws

DIMAPUR — Union Minister for Road Transport and Highways (MoRTH), Nitin Gadkari, has categorically said that the ministry is sincerely working towards building good roads across the country but there is “little” they could do if land is not made available.

This was stated during a meeting called by the Union Minister at the Hotel Radisson Blu in Guwahati, on October 30, to review the national highway projects in the north-eastern states, as per an update received here on Tuesday.

As the major issue faced by the implementing agency and contractors is “the land”, Gadkari, who was accompanied by the minister of State for Road and Transport, General VK Singh (Retd.), urged the government of Nagaland to expedite the formulation of a State Law within a couple of months to resolve the land issue.

Failure to do so will force the Ministry to ‘de-scope the portions and the national highway would be compelled to be handed over and divert to the state government (NPWD),’ he cautioned.

The Deputy Chief Minister of Nagaland, TR Zeliang, who attended the meeting, told the central leaders that the government of Nagaland is actively working on framing State Land Laws to streamline the resolution of land-related issues that have been hindering the progress of national highway projects.

He highlighted the unique landholding system in Nagaland, where nearly every inch of land is owned either by individuals or communities, leaving the state government with limited authority to intervene in resolving land-related matters. Despite the challenges, he conveyed the state government’s commitment to developing State Land Laws aimed at streamlining and easing the existing problem.

The stakeholders and the state government should make a concerted effort to resolve the land issue at the earliest to avoid the national highways being converted to state highways, said the update, adding that such a situation significantly disrupt road construction effort in the state, given the state’s limited financial capacity to undertake such projects independently.

The update stated that the Dy CM is personally taking up the issue of land compensation in the state and is likely to take up the matter in the Cabinet meeting for a final decision, in order to rectify some anomalies in past bureaucratic decisions that have prevented the people from claiming land compensation.

Zeliang also addressed the issue of rockfalls along the Pakala Pahar stretch of road on NH-29, while the managing director of National Highways Infrastructure Development Corporation Ltd. (NHIDCL) said that they were actively working on awarding contracts for protection and safety measures beyond the existing scope of work.

He further urged the Union Minister to expedite the completion of all packages related to the 4-lane road connecting Dimapur and Kohima, which has been delayed for many years.

‘ED Kohima stated that in regard to package 4 of the project, work has been allotted recently,’ said the update.

The deputy CM also sought the intervention of the union minister to help expedite the sanctioning of road projects under the CRIF scheme.

Due to Nagaland’s high Bank of Sanction (BoS) of 10.40 against the permissible BoS of 4.00, the Ministry had initially faced challenges in sanctioning new projects. However, the State had made substantial efforts to maximize fund utilisation, resolve issues causing project delays, and successfully reduce the BoS to 5.28 from the July 2023 figure of 10.40,’ he said.

Zeliang was accompanied by key officials, including Commissioner and Secretary, Kesonyu Yhome; Secretary, Arenla Jamir; Chief Engineer, NH (NPWD), Tiameren; Superintending Engineer, Aroba; and other NH (NPWD) engineers.

Also read: Nagaland organisation writes to Gadkari over non-payment of compensation to people affected by road project

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By EMN Updated: Oct 31, 2023 8:38:17 pm
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