GUWAHATI, April 4 - Union Minister of Road Transport and Highways and Shipping Nitin Gadkari today announced that the Government of India will dredge the Brahmaputra river from Sadiya to Chittagong port for which necessary formalities with the Bangladesh Government has also been completed.
A tripartite agreement for dredging of the Brahmaputra river was today signed between the Assam government, Inland Waterways Authority of India and National Highway Authority of India.
The agreement was signed at the closing ceremony of five-day-long Namami Brahmaputra festival here in the presence of Union Road Transport and Highways and Shipping Minister Nitin Gadkari, Chief Minister Sarbananda Sonowal and other dignitaries.
Gadkari stated that once the project is materialized, this will change the entire economic corridor of Assam as Brahmaputra National Waterway-II will have direct access to Chittagong port of Bangladesh, Haldia port of West Bengal. It will consequently boost trade with the Southeast Asian nations, he said.
Gadkari said that 1,253 km of State roads will be converted into national highways soon and the target would be to convert 3,000 km of State roads into NH. Already conversion of 2,000 km of State roads into national highways has been approved by the Union Government. A detailed project report of 23 projects falling within the stretch of 1,253 km roads has been completed and work for it will start soon, Gadkari added.
The Union minister reviewed the progress of several national highway and other projects related to construction of the Brahmaputra Express Highway and national waterways over the Brahmaputra in a high level meeting attended by Chief Minister Sarbananda Sonowal, several State ministers and senior officials of both the Central and State governments, held today at the Brahmaputra State Guest House in the city.
Gadkari also said that the existing Guwahati bypass from Khanapara to Jalukbari will be converted into a six-lane highway. Similarly, logistic parks alongside national highways where land is available will be constructed to shift the godowns to ease out congestion in important city and town areas. Five such logistic parks will be constructed in the State.
Further, the Union minister advised the State Government to overhaul the functioning mechanism of the Public Works Department to bring in more transparency into the department. He also asked the State Government to hold a meeting of all the works departments for finalisation of procurement rates of cement at the lowest rate fixed by the Union ministry for various projects undertaken by them. A revision of schedule of rates of works departments was also suggested by Gadkari.
Responding to a request made by the Chief Minister to provide necessary support for building quality construction houses and developing the skill of contractors, the Union minister advised to liaise with the civil engineering department of IIT, Guwahati for utilizing their expertise in this regard. He also assured to extend all support from his ministry.
The Union minister reviewed the progress of works related to road and bridge projects of Dolabari-Jamugurihat over Jia Bharali river, Tezpur bypass, Nagaon to Kaliabor NH, Numaligarh to Dibrugarh NH, East-West Corridor projects in Dima Hasao, Bogibeel bridge, Dhola-Sadiya bridge, Dhubri-Phulbari bridge survey work, Gohpur-Numaligarh bridge survey work, Narangi-Kuruwa bridge survey work, etc.
The Union minister expressed satisfaction over the progress of works carried out by the State Government for construction of the Brahmaputra Express Highways on both banks of the river, survey for which has already been completed. Gadkari also stated that the entire 1,300 km stretch of the surveyed land will be converted into express highway by the Union ministry. He advised the State Government to prepare a detailed project report for the express highway involving international consultants.
The Union minister also stated that the Centre will provide funds for development of 56 jetties on the banks of the Brahmaputra river and operationalise five more roll-on and roll-off vessels to improve waterway communication in the State. Gadkari also asked the State Government for identifying places on the banks of the Brahmaputra which can be developed into ports and submit their feasibility report to the Union ministry.