PM clears additional funds for Railways

The Prime Minister chaired a meeting to review the status of infrastructure development in the North Eastern region. The meeting was attended by the Finance Minister, the Civil Aviation Minister, the Railway Minister, the Minister for Road Transport and Highways, the Telecom Minister, the Minister for Power, the Minister for DONER and the Deputy Chairman of the Planning Commission.

The review covered the railway, road, airport, power, and telecom projects in the region. The focus was on speeding up implementation of ongoing projects and also fill-in gaps to ensure full physical and electronic connectivity to and in the North Eastern region. The Deputy Chairman of the Planning Commission emphasised that on the Prime Minister’s direction a special section was for the first time included in the XI Plan document on North Eastern Region which has accelerated the growth process in the North Eastern States. This section is continued in the XII Plan. He reported the eight states of the region grew at 9.95% during the XI plan period, well above the national average of 8%.

At the meeting, it was agreed that the Finance Ministry will provide an additional Rs. 400 crores to complete three critical rail projects before March 2014. These are i) the Harmati- Naharlagun project to provide the first rail connectivity to Arunachal Pradesh. ii) the Dudhnoi- Mendipathar project to connect Meghalaya and iii) the Rangapara- North Lakhimpur gauge conversion project. The Ministry of Railways committed that the first trial runs will begin on these lines in January 2014. The Finance Ministry will also provide upto Rs 200 crore for two more projects i) the Lumding – Silchar gauge conversion and ii) the Bogibeel bridge.

It was also decided to provide additional funds from the NLCPR for Intra- State Transmission line networks in Arunachal Pradesh and Sikkim. The Ministry of Power will expedite work on many hydro-projects which are held up due to various reasons. Priority will be given to building strong transmission capacities to transmit power from this potential power rich region, both in hydro and gas based power.

An Empowered Committee will be set up to monitor progress on all infrastructure projects in the North East region.

The Prime Minister has also directed the Planning Commission to call a meeting of all the Chief Ministers of the North Eastern States to improve inter-state coordination for speedy completion of the Infrastructure projects.

Deputy Chairman of Planning Commission Montek Singh Ahluwalia said the eight states of the region grew at 9.95 percent during the 11th plan period, well above the national average of 8 percent.