After making substantial progress in the first phase of constructing roads in 34 naxal-affected districts in the past two years, the Centre is now planning to build another 5,600 km in these areas. These two-lane roads – estimated to cost the government Rs 9,500 crore in the second phase – would cover more interior stretches in eight states, including Andhra Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand, Bihar and Odisha.
Road transport and highways secretary A K Upadhyaya said the ministry would put these proposals before the expenditure finance committee (EFC) on Wednesday. “Once the EFC clears these projects, we target to complete these stretches by March, 2017. We are aiming to build two-lane roads, and if not at least intermediate road (one lane) to connect areas that have been largely inaccessible so far,” said a senior ministry official.
These stretches have been identified after the Union home ministry held a series of discussions with state governments and respective director generals of police (DGPs). Sources said that constructing these roads is possible only after taking police and security agencies on board since many of these stretches fall in the worst insurgency-hit areas.
The proposal to finalize the estimates of these roads is part of the work plan that highways ministry has envisaged during the 12th Five Year Plan. Highways minister C P Joshi also said in the next five years government targets to expand all national highways to at least two-lane standard. “We aim to connect remote parts of the country with the mainstream, and be a partner in the development process,” he added.
Government had first initiated the Road Requirement Plan (RRP) for improving 5,477 km road connectivity in eight states – Andhra Pradesh, Bihar, Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Odisha and Uttar Pradesh – in 2009. So far, it has awarded 4,511 km, and construction has been completed in 1,872 km.
In some areas, which have been identified as the most difficult regions under the third phase, the progress has been rather poor. “We have held talks with the local police and agencies like Central Industrial Security Force (CISF) to undertake construction in these regions. We will reschedule the work,” Upadhyaya said.
New road stretches in Naxal-hit areas
- Andhra Pradesh1397km
- Madhya Pradesh…..206km
- Uttar Pradesh………326km
News source: TimesofIndia