Khandu to push Centre for fast-tracking industrial corridor project

ITANAGAR, Mar 04: The state government will soon take up construction of the proposed two-lane East-West Industrial Corridor Highway project with the Centre, Chief Minister Pema Khandu said on Thursday.

The chief minister said this in reply to a question raised by Congress MLA Wanglin Lowangdong in the assembly.

The proposed highway, which will serve as an industrial corridor of the state, will be constructed along the foothills of Arunachal Pradesh from Bhairabkunda in West Kameng district, at the tri-junction of Bhutan, Assam and Arunachal Pradesh, to Ruksin in East Siang district.

“This project is very important to us for the larger interest of Arunachal Pradesh as it envisages the transformation of a vast area of the state to boost industrial and economic development in the state. Since our state is so vast, we have to travel from east to west via Assam. When the corridor is built, we will not have to go via roads in Assam,” he said.

Union Minister for Road Transport and Highways Nitin Gadkari during his visit to Itanagar in 2015 had agreed ‘in principle’ to fund the project as a state highway, provided the Arunachal Pradesh government completed pre-construction activities such as land acquisition, forest clearance and techno-economic feasibility study along with detailed project report (DPR), the chief minister said.

“The Union ministry will not provide any fund for land compensation, forest clearance and utility shifting and therefore the state governments responsibility is to complete the pre-construction activities with encumbrance free Right of Way (RoW) for sanction of the project,” Khandu said.

The highway, which would pass through nine districts of the state, will have a total length of 966.78 km, including 274.20 km of the existing national highway standard road from Pasighat in East Siang district to Manmao in Changlang district.

The balance length of 692.58 km is proposed to be constructed in two phases.

The phase-1 of 545.45 km starts from Pasighat and culminates at Bhairabkund and phase-2 of 147.13 km starts from Kanubari in Longding district and culminates at Tirap Gate in Changlang district, he said.

“The entire length of phase-I is in DPR stage and work of survey and investigation of phase-2 is in progress,” the chief minister said.

The road stretch under phase-I has been divided into four sub packages  package-1 of 308.45 km from Pasighat to Naharlagun, package-2 (A) of 101.70 km from Naharlagun to Seijosa in Pakke Kessang district, package-2 (B) of 39.84 km from Seijosa to Bhalukpong and package-2 (C) of 95.46 km from Bhalukpong to Bhairabkund.

“The DPRs of package 1 and 2 (A) are under the scrutiny of the state government and pending due to non-submission of encumbrance free land availability certificates from respective deputy commissioners (DCs),” Khandu said.

The proposed alignment of the road under package-2(B) from Seijosa to Bhalukpong passes through Pakke Tiger Reserve evoking opposition from various quarters.

“The DPR of package 2 (C) from Bhalukpong to Bhairabkund has been submitted to the Union ministry in December last year. The proposal is awaiting approval by the ministry,” he said.

Responding to a supplementary from BJP MLA Biyuram Wahge who suggested construction of an elevated highway through the Pakke Tiger Reserve, Khandu said that the department is examining the proposal and the final call would be taken by the Union Ministry of Road Transport and Highways.

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