Neiphiu Rio with Modi
Nagaland chief minister Neiphiu Rio during a meeting with Prime Minister Narendra Modi. Image credit - Northeast Now

Nagaland chief minister Neiphiu Rio has urged the Centre to expedite various pending projects in the state such as the Greenfield Airport at Ciethu, Kohima; Trans-Nagaland Highway (Foothill Road) and Dimapur-Tizit railway line along the foothills.

These projects need to be completed so that all the districts of the state are well connected and the state’s connectivity with other parts of the country is improved.

Addressing the 5th governing council meeting of the NITI Aayog in New Delhi on Saturday, Rio pointed out that the Ciethu Airport was proposed in 2003 but it is still pending even after feasibility surveys and studies by various central government agencies and preparation of DPR, a CMO release said on Sunday.

He said the project may be little costlier than other airports in the country primarily due to the terrain and amount of earth cutting needed.

The villagers of the area are prepared to give additional land as per requirement for which the state government had consented to bear the cost, he said.

On the 400 km Trans-Nagaland Highway (Foothill Road), Rio said the highway would connect Tizit in Mon to Khelma in Peren district bordering Assam via Dimapur town and pass through six districts of Nagaland along the foothills.

It will also connect the state with Arunachal Pradesh in the north and Assam in the south, he added.

Stating that the road will improve connectivity and boost economic activities across the state, the CM urged the Centre to declare the “alignment” as National Highway and for expeditious sanction of the project.

Rio also called for expanding the railways in the state while stating that the construction of Dimapur-Zubza railway line is underway. He said the Dimapur-Tizit railway line along the foothills needs to be expedited.

He raised the long-pending demand for an economic development package for eastern Nagaland districts bordering Myanmar.

Rio said the ministry of home affairs on June 12 set up a multi-disciplinary committee after holding a meeting with the state government on the issue in May.

The committee was asked to submit its report on or before August 31.

The CM hoped that the development gaps in those districts would soon be addressed.

Rio thanked the Centre for converting all centrally sponsored schemes (CSS) for the Northeast into 90:10 funding pattern and making the North-East Road Sector Development Schemes (NERSDS) 100 per cent centrally funded schemes.

He hoped that the Centre would convert all the existing CSS into 100 per cent central funding projects for the north eastern region and Himalayan states.

Bhadra Gogoi

Bhadra Gogoi is Northeast Now Correspondent in Nagaland. He can be reached at: bhadragogoi@yahoo.com

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