New Delhi: On Tuesday, Union Minister for roads and highways, Nitin Gadkari, laid the foundation of nine highway projects, worth ₹2.80 billion, in the state of Tripura via videoconferencing. 262 kilometres of roads will be developed under these projects. Tripura will be connected with the northeastern states as well as Bangladesh. The project is extremely important for the development of northeastern states and the Indian Act East policy.
Dr Jitendra Singh, selected for development of the northeastern states, General VK Singh, Minister of State for Road Transport and Highways and Biplab Kumar Dev, Chief Minister of Tripura, were present in the virtual program organised on Tuesday. A few months ago, the Union Minister for Roads and Highways had inaugurated 13 projects in the state of Manipur. It is being said that on completion of those projects with these nine projects, connectivity among the northeastern states and with Bangladesh will improve.
The Roads and Highways ministry expressed confidence through a statement, ‘The infrastructure will develop when these projects in Tripura are completed and will economically and socially empower the state. At the same time, employment opportunities will be generated in the state, and with these new projects, fast and safe travel will be possible to tourist, religious and historical places. This will also reduce the time of travel, costs of vehicular maintenance and fuel. The movement of agricultural produce will improve, and more and more products will reach the markets.’
Along with the foundation laying of the road projects in Tripura, the work on the 12 kilometres rail link, between Agartala and Akhaura in Bangladesh has also been expedited, and the work will be completed soon. This rail link will reduce the distance between Tripura and Kolkata by 1,100 kilometres. At the same time, the northeastern states will be connected. Water transport also has been permitted between Daudkandi in Bangladesh and Sonamura in Tripura. For this purpose, the Tripura government has built a temporary port at Sonamura with help from the water transport department. The port is already operational, and freight movement has started. Confidence is being expressed that with the water transport starting between India and Bangladesh, the trade relations between the two countries will strengthen.
The northeastern states are considered to be the entry gate to south-east Asia. Taking cognisance of this fact, the union government has prioritised large scale infrastructure development in the northeastern states. The analysts claim that this is providing the right impetus to the Act East policy of the Indian government.