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PM directs Plan panel to set up committee

By Spl Correspondent

NEW DELHI, Jan 20 � With major infrastructure projects missing targets and running huge cost and time over-runs, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh today directed the Planning Commission to constitute a Monitoring Committee with representatives from the north-eastern States to improve coordination among Central ministries.

The projects where 80 per cent of the work has been completed would be given top priority, Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi told newsmen after attending the review meeting of Chief Ministers of the North East convened by the Prime Minister to review the progress of infrastructure projects in the region. The meeting was organised by the Planning Commission, which is the nodal agency initiating and monitoring developmental work in North East region.

The Chief Ministers of the North East had a busy day, as the Planning Commission organised another meeting in the afternoon on Universal Health.

In his opening remarks, the Prime Minister said that the Government viewed infrastructure development in the North East as a key element in the strategy for developing the region and increasing connectivity with the rest of the country.

The meeting decided that seven national projects would be completed in the 12th Plan, including the Rangiya-Murkongselek (Assam), Lumding-Silchar Broad Gauge, including branch lines (Assam, Manipur, Mizoram, Tripura), Tetelia-Byrnihat (Meghalaya), Jiribam-Tupul-Imphal (Manipur), Bogibeel Bridge (Assam), Kumarghat-Agartala (Tripura) and Agartala-Subroom (Tripura).

The target date for completion of the Bogibeel Rail-cum-Road Bridge across Brahmaputra has been reset to December 2016. Moreover, a new broad-gauge line, Dudhnoi-Mendipathar is to be completed by March 2014, bringing Meghalaya on the rail map of the country. Additional funds of Rs 100 crore were provided in current year for Lumding-Silchar gauge conversion project for main and branch lines. Targeted date of completion is March 2015 for main line and June 2016 for the branch lines.

The new Harmuti-Naharlagun broad gauge line to be completed by March 2014 will be the first rail connectivity to Arunachal Pradesh.

The meeting also reviewed the execution of power projects. The Cabinet Committee on Investment cleared the Dibang project recently, the meeting was told.

The meeting underlined the need to resolve the problems delaying the implementation of the Lower Subansiri hydro project. The project is facing some implementation problems which need early resolution. The Ministry of Power and Government of Assam has scheduled a meeting in February, sources said.

On the road projects, the Chief Ministers were told that the East-West Corridor in the North East is 500 km and an estimated 81 per cent of the work is completes and the likely completion date is December 2014. The Government of Assam has to resolve some land availability issues.

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