A regional planning body, the North Eastern Council (NEC), plans to develop roads along the the country's northeastern borders to improve the region's connectivity with the rest of the country, an official said in Shillong on Wednesday.
"The NEC has identified 56 roads, proposed to be taken up during 11th Five Year Plan to develop road connectivity along the bordering areas as well as inter-state and inter-district connectivity," a senior official of NEC said.
The seven northeastern states can only be accessed from the rest of the country through Assam, but the roads pass through steep hilly terrain and have multiple hairpin bends.
According to the official, the Planning Commission has approved an allocation of Rs.73.94 billion for the NEC against the council's demand of Rs.124.50 billion for the 11th Five Year Plan.
Union Minister for Development of North Eastern Region (DoNER) Bijoy Krishna Handique is the chairman of NEC.
"The 11th Five Year Plan (2007-12) of the NEC has been prepared against the backdrop of many significant changes in the history of economic development of the northeastern region of India. This is the first plan that NEC is formulating its strategies as a regional planning body and not as a regional advisory body," the official said refusing to disclose his name.
The NEC also plans to increase surface communication with the neighbouring countries.
If Dhaka provides land and water transit facilities to India, it would facilitate transport of goods from the rest of the country to the region through Bangladesh, the official added.
Handique, during a recent meeting here with the chief ministers of the northeastern states, said the United Progressive Alliance (UPA) government has earmarked Rs.5 billion during this fiscal to upgrade infrastructure in the region.
"Under the Northeast Vision 2020, the DoNER ministry has chalked out a 100-day plan," Handique added.
"Implementation of developmental projects in the region is very important for all of us. Close coordination and joint efforts between the centre and all the eight states of the region are extremely important to realise the fruits of development," he said.