Guwahati, Aug 11: Assam Chief Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma on Wednesday said he has discussed the proposed 35-km elevated corridor of the National Highway-37 passing through Kaziranga National Park with the Centre, which has given a favourable response.
During a discussion on the Cut Motion on Supplementary Demands for Grants in the Assembly, Sarma said the ambitious project has been discussed at length with Union Road Transport and Highways Minister Nitin Gadkari.
"With all the MPs from Assam, I met Nitin Gadkari in Delhi yesterday. We discussed the Kaziranga elevated road project. You will be happy to know that it is almost on track now," Sarma said.
During the monsoon, the famed Park gets inundated and scores of animals are killed while trying to cross the NH-37 by speeding vehicles, he added.
The NH-37 is the lifeline of Upper Assam districts and the only road to connect the region with the rest of the state. A considerable portion of this road passes through the Kaziranga National Park.
"If we can construct a 35-km elevated road on this stretch, then the animals will be saved. The existing road can be used by local villagers after completion of this elevated road," Sarma said.
On July 20, the chief minister had approved the alignment of the elevated corridor and directed PWD officials to fast-track all necessary measures for execution of the project, which is planned to be constructed from Jakhalabandha to Bokakhat.
In the Assembly on Wednesday, Sarma also said that the government is considering to construct roads on the existing embankments of Brahmaputra and its tributaries.
"The embankments are not concrete roads. If we can make proper roads over them, then the embankments will last longer as well as it will reduce travelling distance. We have almost 7,000 km of embankments across Assam.
"Construction of roads on all of them may not be feasible, but we can definitely make roads on some. We will also get a report by the IIT on the feasibility," he added.
On the toll gates, Sarma said the National Highways Authority of India (NHAI) had stopped all investment in Assam due to non-functional toll gates.
"NHAI clearly said they would not put any money here unless we operate the toll gates. If it exists in all states, then why would it not operate in Assam? After we started the toll gates, NHAI is now investing money again," he claimed.
On the target of constructing 1,000 bridges in five years by his predecessor Sarbananda Sonowal, Sarma said 700 bridges are under construction and 300 more will be completed during his tenure.
He also requested all the MLAs to submit various road proposals for consideration and assured that Rs 100-300 crore will be provided to each constituency for development of roads under various schemes.