Keeping its promise of ensuring development in the North-East, the government may announce the setting up of a North-East Road Transport Corporation (NERTC) with an initial corpus of Rs 200 crore in the forthcoming budget.
The NERTC will monitor the construction activities in the road construction sector in the north-east which is now handled jointly by the defence ministry, home ministry, road transport and highways ministry, state governments and the National Highways Authority of India.
NERTC’s core mandate will be to coordinate for and monitor road construction, and cut delays.
This move is an outcome of the PMO’s commitment to develop the road transportation system in the North-East region as was also announced in President Pranab Mukherjee’s address in the first session of both Houses of Parliament on June 9.
“This new body, which is expected to be under the control of the ministry for Development of northeast Region (DoNER), will prioritise work to enable four-lane access to all state capitals in the northeast region”, a top government source told HT.
“In addition, the government may also go in for an additional two-lane construction so that in case of landslides, the whole road does not get blocked,” the source added.
At a time when India is vying for a major international role and a larger regional role, there is a strong need to develop road connectivity to its ASEAN neighbours like Myanmar, Bangladesh and Bhutan besides the rest of India. The new body is expected to play a pivotal role in that.
With road maintenance being a big issue in the North-East, the state governments will be asked to come up with a master maintenance plan to form the basis on which funding agencies will release funds, the sources said.