The Nagaland Foothills Road Coordination Committee (NFHRCC) has sought Rs 11.5 crore from the Nagaland Government for completion of earth cutting on the foothill road along the border of Assam.
The committee, in a letter to Chief Minister Neiphiu Rio, sought his intervention and urged him to accord top priority to the historic road project by providing the amount to complete the earth cutting work. It said, once completed, the road would be the gateway for the Nagas.
Only eight km of earth cutting – five km in the Niuland segment and three km in the Naginimora area – is required for inter-linking of the around 250 km road along the foothills of Nagaland bordering Assam.
As per the detailed project report, Rs 11.5 cr is required to complete the earth cutting.
The NFHRCC recalled that though the State Government had started construction of the foothill road in 1974, it did not materialize and was ultimately abandoned.
However, at the initiative of NFHRCC, the project was revived in 2013 as ‘extra-ordinary project’ or ‘people’s project’ after a gap of almost four decades, the letter stated.
The earth cutting work on the road started in December 2013 but came to a grinding halt after August 2016 owing to delayed funding from the state government, the committee lamented.
The committee pointed out that the landowners were convinced to part with their land without a penny as compensation, Naga political groups agreed upon not to levy tax and department concerned too agreed for statutory deductions.
The government had pledged a sum of Rs 70 crore to the project in 2013 and released the amount in two installments – Rs 40 cr in 2013-14 and Rs 30 cr in 2014-15.
If work had progressed as envisaged and funds not delayed, the earth-cutting would have been over by the turn of 2017, the letter stated.
The committee met on July 9 and again on July 14 in Dimapur to discuss matters pertaining to resumption of the work.
According to NFHRCC, the foothills road would be extended till Khelma in due course of time to connect the entire foothills area of the State.
In the near future, the road could also be converted into international road in consonance with the Government of India’s Act East Policy, the committee added.