Nagaland government committed to pursue for completion of foothill road, says Deputy CM
Kohima, Feb. 16 (EMN): Deputy Chief Minister Y Patton on Tuesday said that the state is unable to make the foothill road operational due to lack of resources but is committed to making it happen; for which ‘the government have been taking up the issue with the Government of India in every level’.
Patton, who is also the minister in-charge of Home and Road and Bridges, made the statement on the third day of the ongoing Assembly session.
Considering major borders the state shares with Assam along the foothill areas in north-western part of the state, encompassing large areas of Mon, Longleng, Mokokchung, Wokha and Dimapur districts, he said the government embarked on a plan in 2013 to construct a road connecting the foothill areas realising the possible benefit such a project could bring to the state.
Patton stated that a single-lane foothill connectivity was proposed- “Construction/ Improvement of road along Tizit-Naginmora- Tuli-Yajang C- Longtho-MI Project-Sumito- New and Old Wozhu- Changpang-Yimpang-Bhandari-Governor’s Camp-Ralan (0)- Niuland-Dimapur”, covering a total distance of 342 km and amounting to INR 235 crore.
He informed that the proposal under the Special Plan Assistance (SPA) was approved by the Government of India during 2013-14 and an amount of INR 235 crore was sanctioned; works were taken up in the same year as per the budget allocation only and not as per the approved amount.
He went on to inform that the government funded INR 6700 lakh in during 2013-2014 and INR 6700 lakh during 2014-2015 for the road but the discontinuation of SPA funding from 2015-16 onward affected the work projected in the proposal.
Patton then presented to the House the status of works that were taken up as per the budget provisions, wherein 129.60 km length of road formation cutting/embankment of the unconnected portion were reported to have been taken up and completed; while construction of two- lane RCC Bridge (134.80 M Span) over Doyang River near Governor’s Camp is said to be under progress.
He said that the work order for the bridge was issued in March 2014 but work was suspended in 2017-2018 due to various reasons, including discontinuation of SPA funding. Yet, he said, the contractor resumed work in October 2018 with all efforts, adding that “the overall progress of works is 70.66% although there is no clear indication of the funding source”.
Patton further presented the works that could not be taken up: viz. pavement works i/c cross drains, bridges and protection works in the newly cut portions and improvement of the existing road. He maintained that the road now is not pliable as it been affected by landslides, subsidence etc. and new works have not been taken up due to fund constraints since 2015-16.
However, he informed that the department has submitted a proposal estimate for clearance of landslides, construction of side drains, cross drains i/c minor bridges and metalling works, including the balance amount required for the completion of the Doyang Bridge amounting to INR 143.67 crore to make the road pliable, which he said “is under examination”.
The deputy CM went on to state that the state government is continuously pursuing with the Central government for release of the balance funds under the SPA for completion of the project.
He also maintained that the state government had in 2014-15 submitted a proposal to the Ministry of Road Transport and Highways (MORTH) for declaration of foothill road as National Highway, but the MORTH had suggested to change the nomenclature to Nagaland Highway (two-lane) and to be taken up in a phased trans manner as: Phase-I: Tuli to Dimapur By Pass- 180.65 km; Phase-II: Tizit to Tuli- 68 km: Jalukie-Khelma- 71.60 km; Phase-III: Jalukie-Khelma 71.60 km (Dimapur to Jalukie is connected by National Highway 129A) with a total length of 320.25 km.
Patton also informed that the feasibility report of Phase I and II and DPR amounting to INR 4463.56 crore have been submitted to MORTH for approval and added that the feasibility report and alignment has been approved in December 2018.
Meanwhile, he asserted that the state is awaiting the approval for declaration of the Trans Nagaland Highway as a National Highway, wherein the government was told to have submitted several reminders and the chief minister of Nagaland was also stated to have taken up the matter with the prime minister of India on September 3, 2020 to declare the stretch of road as National Highway.
Patton further informed that the Phase III works- the feasibility study for Jalukie to Athibung is completed while from Athibung to Khelma is yet to be finalised. He added that the policy for further declaration of new national highways is yet to be finalised.
He maintained that the chief minister had taken up the matter with the Union Minister of Road Transport and Highways again on January 19, 2021, urging to take up the project under Bharatmala Pariyojna project on priority. He also assured that the government will continue to pursue the project in the coming days.