Agartala, Oct 13 (IANS) To improve road connectivity in the country's mountainous northeastern states, over 10,100 km of national highways in the region will be gradually upgraded, a top official said Saturday.
"The central government has accorded importance to improving connectivity in the land-locked northeastern region," Road Transport and Highways Ministry Secretary A.K. Upadhyay told reporters here.
"Over 10,100 km of national highways in the northeastern region would be further developed in a phased manner," he said.
"Northeast in general and Arunachal Pradesh in particular have been accorded the highest importance for development of road and bridge infrastructure.
"Around 2,770 km of roads, including those in the areas bordering China, are in various stages of construction by BRO (Border Roads Organisation)," Upadhyay said.
Arunachal Pradesh shares 1,030 km of unfenced border with China.
He said the extension, development and widening of National Highway-44 up to Sabroom in Tripura were crucial after Bangladesh allowed India to access the Chittagong port, about 75 km from the border town of Sabroom.
The central government has also started building a 150-metre-long bridge over the Feni river in Sabroom for better connectivity with the Chittagong sea port.
Upadhyay said that an additional director general from the ministry with higher technical and financial powers would be appointed soon to accelerate works on the national highways in the northeastern states.
Additional chief engineers from the BRO would also be posted in the region for the same purpose, he added.
The official also said that due to topographical and other limitations, the cost of Rs.3.5 crore per km applied to building roads in other parts of the country was not sufficient for the region.
"As the growth prospect is enormous in the region, infrastructure development, specially building of roads, is very essential," he said.