SHILLONG, Sept 24 - Union Minister for Road Transport and Highways, Nitin Gadkari today dedicated to the Nation the Jowai-Ratacherra (Meghalaya-Assam border) National Highway project and said the NDA Government accords the highest priority for the development of North East.
�The present NDA Government gives the highest priority for the development of infrastructure in the North East,� he said here while adding, that connectivity is important for development of a region.
The Minister said that several �big projects� have been undertaken recently under the National Highways and Infrastructure Development Corporation Limited (NHIDCL) in the NE.
Instructions have been given to NHIDCL that road projects are split into �small packages� and the contracts to develop these roads are given to local contractors so that local people get employment opportunity.
�We are willing to give more employment opportunities, but not at the cost of quality and transparency and corruption-free work,� Gadkari said.
Touching on the Jowai-Ratacherra road, the Minister said this important road would connect Meghalaya with Assam by reducing the time taken to travel. This road, he said, connects an important economic zone in Meghalaya and also in Assam.
Gadkari said the road would pass through areas manufacturing cement and the coal mining areas and this improved road would help these industries which in turn help development of the State.
The Union Minister also said that Bamboo industry also stands to profit from this road. He said that Bamboo can not only be used for production of paper products but it also has a huge potentiality to be used for bio-energy.
The Jowai-Ratacherra Highway is a section of NH-44. The 102.25 km road project commenced in December 2015 and completed in May this year ahead of its scheduled completion at the cost of Rs 683 crore.
The road originates about 5 km from Jowai town in West Jaintia Hills District and terminates at Malidor (Assam-Meghalaya border) in East Jaintia Hills district.
The new road has three bridges, 34 minor bridges, 441 culverts, two toll plazas, 17 Bus Bays and one tunnel. With the completion of the road project, trucks and heavy vehicles coming from Brahmaputra valley can move smoothly in a record time to Silchar in Barak Valley, in Assam after passing through Meghalaya.
In his address, Chief Minister Conrad Sangma said that the NDA Government do �understand the problems of the people in NE� and said the new road would be a boon for the people.