Government clears Rs.600 crore for railways projects in north east

New Delhi, July 18 (IANS) The government Thursday approved an additional Rs.400 crore to complete three rail projects in the northeastern region before March 2014.

The three critical rail projects are the Harmati-Naharlagun project to provide the first rail connectivity to Arunachal Pradesh; the Dudhnoi-Mehdipathar project to connect Meghalaya; and the Rangapura-North Lakhimpur gauge conversion project.

The Railways ministry has committed that the first trial runs will begin on these lines in January 2014.

The finance ministry will also provide upto Rs.200 crore for two more projects -- the Lunching-Slichar gauge conversion and the Bogibeel bridge, said an official release here.

These decisions were taken at a review meeting to take stock of infrastructure development in the Northeast. The meeting was chaired by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and attended by the finance minister, civil aviation minister, railway minister, minister for road transport and highways, telecom minister, minister for power, the minister for DONER and the deputy chairman of the Planning Commission.

The Prime Minister directed the Planning Commission to call a meeting of all the chief ministers of the north eastern states to improve inter-state coordination for speedy completion of the infrastructure projects.

It was also decided to provide additional funds from the Non-Lapsable Central Pool of Resources (NLCPR) for intra-state transmission line networks in Arunchal Pradesh and Sikkim. The Power Ministry will expedite work on many hydro-projects, which are held up due to various reasons. Priority will be given to building strong transmission capacities to transmit power from this potential power rich region, both in hydro and gas based power.

An empowered committee will be set up to monitor progress on all infrastructure projects in the north east region.

Deputy Chairman of Planning Commission Montek Singh Ahluwalia said the eight states of the region grew at 9.95 percent during the 11th plan period, well above the national average of 8 percent.