Sunday, September 25, 2022

NLA passes resolution on Trans-Nagaland Expressway

By Thejoto Nienu Updated: Sep 22, 2022 7:29 pm

Our Correspondent
Kohima, Sep 22 (EMN):
The Nagaland Legislative Assembly (NLA) on Thursday resolved to construct the Trans-Nagaland Expressway (Foothill road) through the North Eastern Council (NEC) on the second day of the 12th session of the 13th NLA.

Mooting the matter on the floor of the house, Member of Legislative Assembly (MLA), Imkong L Imchen said the Foothill road was conceptualised due to the ‘hostile’ situation along the Assam-Nagaland border area.

He maintained that the situation led the Nagaland Cabinet to not only establish a police outpost at the border area but also construct a road from Khelma to Tizit measuring 395+ km.

Imchen pointed out that in December 2013, the work order was issued and the construction began but till today, the road is nowhere near completion, even though 80% of the state’s population is expected to ply on this road once it is completed.

The legislator said that the department had approached the Ministry of Road Transport and Highways (MoRTH), but no funding had been received for its completion, despite the landowners agreeing not to take land compensation, except for property damage.

He said that even if the project is not taken up by MoRTH, the state cabinet needs to waive off all other projects put up to NEC and put forward the Trans-Nagaland Expressway to make it a reality.

Meanwhile, Chief Minister Neiphiu Rio said when he was the PWD (Works and Housing) minister in 1993, with the permission of the then chief minister, he pursued and raised the issue in the NEC meeting at Itanagar, Arunachal Pradesh but because of the border issue, Assam raised an objection and it couldn’t be implemented.

He maintained that now, there is a more ‘friendly’ government, and the state is trying to build the road inside Nagaland, except for some portion in a disputed area but occupied by Nagas.

On several occasions, he had also written to Prime Minister Narendra Modi; and along with the deputy chief minister and other cabinet members, they had taken up the issue with the minister in-charge Nitin Gadkari but the Nagaland delegation was told that ‘the declaration of NH is in the hand of PM Modi,’ which is still ‘awaited’.

In this regard, the chief minister maintained that he had asked Gadkari for funding under the Bharatmala Pariyojana scheme, which ‘he agreed but did not give’.

Leaving the state with no option, he said an additional budget of INR 30 crore was given from the state plan. As per the work progress of the contractors, the proposed bill came to a little over INR 17 crore. However, before the fund was released, the contractors issued an ultimatum to release the fund on or before a certain date.

“If contractors give an ultimatum for release of fund, I think that will be a very bad precedent,” maintained the chief minister.

 ‘This road has not seen the light of day, and we are feeling bad’, said Rio, while sharing about his meeting with Union Home Minister Amit Shah where he submitted a letter on important projects that were not given to the state.

Speaking about pending projects, he said the state has already purchased 200 acre of land for the Institute for Scientific and Engineering Research (ISER), sanctioned when he was the Member of Parliament (MP) during 2015-16. One ISER each was announced for Odisha and Nagaland, he said.

In Odisha, the institute has already been built and is functional but for Nagaland, the sanction was retracted, he said, adding that he is ‘pursuing’ it with the Central govt. as the institute will bring a lot of students from mainland India.

Further, Rio informed that he had appealed to the Centre for Kohima Medical College to be managed by the Central government like a regional institute. In this regard, two persons had accepted appointment following an interview, but later said they will not be able to come. ‘We talk big things but unless people unite and cooperate, good things are not coming to us’, he added.

By Thejoto Nienu Updated: Sep 22, 2022 7:29:17 pm