ITANAGAR, March 16 - Nine years since the Itanagar-Banderdewa four-lane highway project was announced by then Prime Minister Dr Manmohan Singh, the project is yet to see the �light of execution� till date.
�In three to four years, we will connect Itanagar with a four-lane highway�, Dr Manmohan Singh had said while announcing a mega infrastructure development package for the State during his visit to Itanagar on January 31, 2008.
The project is stuck owing to three major factors: the first being the issue of land acquisition, second � non-earmarking of right of way (RoW) and thirdly, high cost involvement, according to an official communiqu� from the Chief Minister�s Office (CMO) here.
While making a whirlwind inspection of the entire stretch of National Highway 415 from Chandranagar (Itanagar) to Banderdewa recently, Chief Minister Kalikho Pul was astonished to find that till date the State Government has no clarity over the actual length of RoW.
In 2001, the RoW was 30 metres while in 2006 it was made 40 metres. Interestingly, in 2013 the Cabinet had revised the RoW to 22-24 metres while as per the CPWD manual the actual requirement is 60 metres.
The PWD (Highway) engineers, however, clarified that the present requirement for Itanagar-Banderdewa Highway would be 30 metres in built up area and 40 metres in open area.
Having an overview of the issues, Pul, who took over the State�s reins last week, viewed that the State lacked a strong political will to get the project through.
Although National Highways are funded by the Central Government, a collective approach and support from all stakeholders is the need of the hour, he stated.
Reiterating that road sector would get �top most� priority, the CM appealed the people to support the endeavour of the government and join hands with the government so that the required basic infrastructure are put in place. The compensation issues should be tactfully dealt with, he averred.
The CM, who was accompanied by a team of officers including Chief Engineer (Highway) Bora Ete, however, assured to complete the maintenance work of the entire stretch of highway from Banderdewa to Itanagar including bridges and culverts within a year�s time, and said that wherever Central support is required, he would approach the Prime Minister and the Union Ministry for funds to complete the projects.