PM clears additional funds for railways and power sectors in north east

New Delhi, July 18 (ANI): The Prime Minister, Dr. Manmohan Singh, chaired a meeting to review the status of infrastructure development in the north eastern region.

Finance Minister P. Chidambaram, Civil Aviation Minister Ajit Singh, Railway Minister Mallikarjun Kharge, Minister for Road Transport and Highways Oscar Fernandes, Telecom Minister Kapil Sibal, Power Minister Jyotiraditya Scindia, Minister for DONER (Development of North Eastern Region) Paban Singh Ghatowar and Planning Commission Deputy Chairman Montek Singh Ahluwalia were present at the meeting.

The review covered the railway, road, airport, power, and telecom projects in the region. The focus was on speeding up implementation of ongoing projects and also fill-in gaps to ensure full physical and electronic connectivity to and in the North Eastern region.

The Deputy Chairman of the Planning Commission emphasized that on the Prime Minister's direction a special section was for the first time included in the XI Plan document on north eastern region which has accelerated the growth process in the north eastern states. This section is continued in the XII Plan. He reported the eight states of the region grew at 9.95 percent during the XI plan period, well above the national average of 8 percent.

At the meeting, it was agreed that the Finance Ministry will provide an additional Rs. 400 crores to complete three critical rail projects before March 2014. These are: the Harmati- Naharlagun project to provide the first rail connectivity to Arunachal Pradesh, the Dudhnoi- Mendipathar project to connect Meghalaya and the Rangapara- North Lakhimpur gauge conversion project.

The Ministry of Railways committed that the first trial runs will begin on these lines in January 2014. The Finance Ministry will also provide up to Rs 200 crore for two more projects the Lumding - Silchar gauge conversion and the Bogibeel bridge.

It was also decided to provide additional funds from the NLCPR for Intra- State Transmission line networks in Arunachal Pradesh and Sikkim.

The Ministry of Power 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.

The Prime Minister has also 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. (ANI)

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