The central government will spend Rs.20,000 crore for the development of roads in the northeastern states this year, Union Road Transport, Highways and Shipping Minister Nitin Gadkari said here on Saturday.Gadkari said the government was also planning to develop inland water transport in the region."While an amount of Rs.8,000 crore will be spent on road projects in Assam, the government will spend about Rs.6,000 crore for road projects in Arunachal Pradesh," he said at a press conference."I assure you that we will start these projects within three months," he said.Gadkari said the amount will be spent for improving existing road networks and building new ones, which will foster economic growth in the whole region.
The minister said the projects will be implemented by public sector undertakings, private entities and in public-private partnership mode.He, however, said the two main problems of the region were land acquisition and forest and environmental clearances."I have requested the state governments to expedite the process of granting forest and environmental clearances and land acquisition so that the projects could be completed on time," he said."There are also problems of contractors in the region. There are not many contractors who can handle such big projects. We have decided to sanction small projects and will take steps to improve the skills of contractors in the region. This will also help solve the unemployment problem in the northeastern states," said Gadkari."Similarly, the centre is also planning to develop inland water transport in the states of the region. By October, a ship repairing yard will be built at Pandu in Guwahati. We are going to set up a dry dock and ship building activities will be started here. A high level jetty will also be built at Pandu," he said.