Dimapur: The Nagaland Foothill Road Coordination Committee (NFHRCC) has decided to start an agitation over the state’s foothill road problem.
Nagaland Chief Minister Neiphiu Rio held a meeting on Friday with Deputy Chief Minister Y Patton, who is also Minister in Charge of PWD (Roads and Bridges) and PWD officials to discuss the progress of the road construction in Kohima.
“Convened a meeting with Dy. Chief Minister @YanthungoPatton,@NagalandCS and Public Works Department regarding progress of construction of the foothill road. The State Govt. is taking up the matter with utmost seriousness,” Rio tweeted.
According to Principal Secretary Menukhol John in a statement, Rio order the department to begin the exercise to make the road malleable while waiting for the central government to approve the request for its declaration as a National Highway or under the Bharatmala Pariyojna.
The NFHRCC decided to launch phase-wise agitation from September 13, if the State Government did not reply favourably to their demand by September 12.
It demanded that the foothill road, which began building way back in 1974, be made malleable until the proposed mega project is approved by the national government.
The first phase of the agitation, according to the committee will be confined to Dimapur. The PWD (Road and Bridges) Dimapur division office would be closed and all government vehicles will be limited in the first phase, according to the statement.
The meeting also decided to form a “Young Naga Action Committee for Foothill Road,” with the Central Naga Students’ Association as convenor and co-convenors being the Dimapur Eastern Naga Students’ Union, Zeliang Students’ Union Nagaland, Lotha Youth Organisation, Western Sumi Youth Front and Dimapur Ao Youth Organization.
The State Works and Housing Department said in a statement that everyone understands the need of having a road along Nagaland’s foothills.
The State Government proposed building a road that would run for more than 300 kilometres through the foothills of the state’s northwestern region, spanning large areas of Mon, Longleng, Mokokchung, Wokha, Dimapur and Peren districts. The State Government lacks sufficient resources, the plan was vigorously pursued for funding at numerous forums, it stated.
Accordingly, works were taken up from 2013-14 onwards as per the budget allocation of Rs 40crore during 2013-14 and Rs 27 crore during 2014-15, totaling Rs 67 crore. Regrettably, the SPA funding was discontinued by Government of India from 2015-16 onwards and therefore, all items of work projected in the proposal could not be taken up, the statement said.
It said the State Government, in all earnestness, has been continuously pursuing with the Central Government for release of the balance funds under the SPA so that the incomplete works are completed. Further, during 2014-15, the State Government submitted the proposal to the Union Ministry of Road Transport and Highways for declaration of foothill road as National Highway. However, the declaration of new National Highways is yet to be finalised, it added
The department said this proposal was again been taken up with Union Minister for Road Transport and Highways Nitin Gadkari by Chief Minister Rio on January 19 for taking up the project under Bharatmala Pariyojna project on priority. The Hon’ble Chief Minister has also personally met the Union Minister on the matter. The Chief Minister had again taken up the issue with Prime Minister Narendra Modi on September 6 for consideration.
The statement added that the government is making all efforts to get the project completed.
Accordingly, the administrative approval for Rs 20 crore has been accorded for taking up emergency works and Rs 10 crore has also been earmarked for the completion of the Doyang bridge near Governor’s Camp in Wokha district during the current financial year. The department has been instructed to start the tendering process, the statement said.
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