All NE state capitals to get railway, air network | delhi | Hindustan Times
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All NE state capitals to get railway, air network

With lack of connectivity posing as a major hindrance in the economic growth of the northeast, the Centre has decided to bring all the state capitals in the region under railway and air network.

delhi Updated: Dec 19, 2010 10:36 IST

With lack of connectivity posing as a major hindrance in the economic growth of the northeast, the Centre has decided to bring all the state capitals in the region under railway and air network.

Officials in the Ministry of Development of North Eastern Region (DoNER) said Railways has undertaken an ambitious project to link all capital cities at an estimated investment of Rs 17,000 crore by 2017.

Till now, railway network is available in Assam and some parts of Arunachal Pradesh and Nagaland. The officials said the government has decided to set up an airport in Arunachal Pradesh capital Itanagar while another has been planned for Kohima in Nagaland.

Both the state capitals do not have aerial connectivity. The government has set deadline of July, 2015 to complete work on the green field airport in Itanagar while no target has been fixed for the Kohima airport.

On the rail project, the officials said it was proposed in the Vision Document 2020, a blueprint for overall development of the region, which was released by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh in 2008.

They said the construction of railway lines between Assam's Harmauti and Itanagar is expected to be completed by March 2012 while the work on laying railway lines between Assam's Azara and Shillong is expected to be over by 2017.

The officials said the mega railway project to connect the capital cities will be able to meet the deadline of 2017 if respective state governments expeditiously provide land. Asked about poor aerial connectivity within the region, they said DoNER Ministry was ready to provide subsidy to any private airline if it starts an exclusive "intra-state" operation.

Although most of the states have air link with major cities in the country, the network among the states was not satisfactory. The DoNER Ministry had floated tenders for an exclusive air network within the region but failed to get any response from the airlines.

Noting that government was also determined to improve road network in the city, the officials said the DoNER Ministry has sanctioned Rs 703 crore to the NE states since February to improve various arterial roads.