Stepping up its effort to fight Maoist insurgency, the Centre is planning to launch the second phase of its ambitious road expansion programme in states affected by Left Wing Extremism (LWE).
Under this, the road transport ministry will be building 7,300 km of two-lane roads spread over 34 districts at a cost of Rs 10,000 crore. Together with phase I of the project, which was launched in 2009, this will result in a total road network of 14,000 km in eight Maoist-dominated states by 2017.
"The Planning Commission and the home ministry have already approved the project. We are fine tuning the funding details before finalising its launch," said a Planning Commission official, who is privy to the development.
The funding issue was discussed in the Committee of Secretaries meeting on Friday but a final decision was not taken. "The road transport ministry wants additional central support. They said funding LWE projects was affecting the budget of other highway projects. A final decision will be taken next week," said an official.
In 2009, the Centre had approved phase I of the project which involved the construction of 5,477-km stretch by 2014. While the Centre has given the go ahead, the work on phase I has been going on at a snail's pace with just 10% work having been completed till June.
The proposed phase II of the road project comes close on the heels of another recent Rs 2,500 crore proposal by the road ministry to develop 1,100 km corridor along the Andhra Pradesh border linking it with Maharashtra, Orissa and Chattisgarh.