SHILLONG, Jan 30 � The four-laning of the crucial National Highway 40, better known as Guwahati-Shillong Road, would be completed by February-end this year, barring a portion in Umsning, owing to land acquisition problem.
Making the announcement, Union Minister of State for Roads, Transport and Highways Pon Radhakrihnan said here yesterday that the four-laning of the 61.8 km highway from Jorabat to Umiam (Barapani) would be completed by end of February, 2015.
He, however, added that the Umsning bypass on the highway, would take another year�s time for completion due to delay in land acquisition.
�The State Government couldn�t acquire the land and just this year it was done. So it would take another year to complete construction of this portion of the Highway,� Radhakrishnan said. On frequent landslides on the highway, the Minister said that professors from the IITs have been consulted and their expertise was being used so that such landslide doesn�t recur.
The Minister further added that land acquisition has been a major problem in the State to start new road projects and the Union Government has therefore urged the State Government to look into this aspect.
Radhakrishnan said that at present there were five major road projects, under Engineering, Procurement and Construction mode, being undertaken in Meghalaya covering a total length of 337.86 km at an estimated cost of 2243.59 crore. Out of these five projects, fund for just the two-laning of the Nongstoin-Domisiat via Wahkaji has been awarded. However, the other four projects have been delayed due to land acquisition problems.
The other four projects that have been delayed include: Barapani-Shillong on NH-40, Mawthabah-Ranikor, Ranikor- Baghmara and Nongstoin-Chaygaon. Apart from these projects, work is on for two-laning the Shillong-Nongstoin and Nongstoin-Rongjeng-Tura road.
The Minister said that the Union Government�s focus is to develop road connectivity of the land-locked Northeastern region. He said that the Union Government is targeting construction of 1400 km of road during 2014-15 at a total investment of Rs 13,000 crore.
The Government further plans to create 2,000 km of road in 2015-16 at a cost of Rs 18,000 crore and the subsequent fiscal 2,300 km at an investment of Rs 21,000 crore.