After reviewing the progress of infrastructure projects in the north-east with Chief Ministers of the north-eastern States, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh set a deadline for completion of various projects during the 12th Five Year Plan period under the supervision of a monitoring committee.

The Prime Minister directed Planning Commission Deputy Chairman Montek Singh Ahluwalia to set up the committee with representatives of the States and Central Ministries. The committee will coordinate the execution of projects and increase connectivity with the rest of the country.

As the nodal agency for development work in the region, the Planning Commission made a detailed presentation of the progress achieved in projects related to the railways, roads, inland waterways, airports, and telecom and power sectors. The Prime Minister noted that considerable progress was achieved in each of the sectors.

Arunachal Pradesh would be connected to Meghalaya once work on broad gauge lines between Harmati-Naharlagun and Dudhnoi-Mendipathar is over. These are among the 20 railway projects underway in the northeast, ten of which are national projects.

With regard to road projects, the Assam government was directed to resolve land issues to complete the remaining 19 per cent of the 500 km East West Corridor by December this year, and projects under the Special Accelerated Road Development Projects for constructing 4,099 km are to be completed between June 2015 and March 2017.With just 1,215 km of roads of the 2505 km sanctioned being completed, the meeting reviewed various steps taken to improve implementation of the scheme.

The Prime Minister also underlined the need to speed up implementation of the 2,319 km Trans-Arunachal Highway Programme. With only 58 per cent of the scheme being sanctioned the various stretches would be completed between June 2016 and March 2018.

Air connectivity

With respect to further improving air connectivity, the Prime Minister laid stress on resolving land issues for the new airport at Pakyong in Sikkim by December 2014 and the airport in Itanagar, Arunachal Pradesh.

Apart from modernising and expanding the existing airports in Guwahati, Dibrugarh, Jorhat, Shillong, Imphal and Agartala, the directive was to improve the weak intra regional network as well.

Waterways

For improving the National Waterway-2 on Brahmaputra for cheap transport of commodities and people, the Shipping Ministry was asked to complete 16 floating terminals and make operational for passengers by March. To speed up hydro power projects to tap the potential of 55,561 MW in the region, the thrust was on expeditious environmental and forest clearance and a meeting of Ministry of Power and Assam government is scheduled in February to sort out problems relating to the Lower Subansiri project.

Intra-State transmission lines are set up using funds provided by the Centre and the World Bank.

For improving telecommunication, all district headquarters of the north-east will get optical fibre cable connectivity by December and blocks, panchayats and village councils by 2015. The government is also exploring providing alternate telecom routing from Akhaura (Bangladesh) to Agartala.