Northeastern highway aims access to Bangladesh port
Agartala, March 14 : The central government would start work from the 2013-14 fiscal on making the Guwahati-Agartala National Highway (NH 44) four-laned for access to Bangladesh's Chittagong international port, a MP from Tripura said.
"Keeping provision for four lanes, the work for double-laning of the NH-44 would start from the next financial year. It would help to get access to the Chittagong port," Communist Party of India-Marxist MP Khagen Das told reporters here Thursday.
A parliamentary team led by Das met union Road Transport and Highways Secretary Vijay Chhibber in New Delhi Wednesday and discussed the development of the national highways in Tripura.
"He assured us that in the first phase, the national highway would be made double-lane then it would become a four-lane highway," Das added.
He said the extension, development and widening of National Highway-44 up to southern Tripura's Sabroom were crucial after Bangladesh allowed India to access the Chittagong international port, which is about 75 km from the border town of Sabroom.
The government has also started preliminary works for building a 150-metre-long bridge over the Feni river in Sabroom for better connectivity with Chittagong.
The over 600-km long Guwahati-Agartala national highway has been extended up to Meghalaya capital Shillong. Of the over 600 km, about 450 km falls in Tripura and remaining portion in Assam and Meghalaya.
Prime Minister Manmohan Singh during his visit to Tripura in 2005, had declared the four-laning plan of the Guwahati-Agartala national highway as a national project.
According to another road transport and highways ministry official, an additional director general from the ministry with higher technical and financial powers would be appointed soon to accelerate work on the national highways in the northeastern states.
Additional chief engineers from the Border Road Organisation (BRO) would also be posted in the region for the same purpose.
The official said that due to topographical and other limitations in the region, the Rs.3.5 crore per km cost basis applied to building roads in other parts of the country was not sufficient in the northeast.
"As the growth prospect is enormous in the region, infrastructure development, specially building of roads, is very essential," he said.