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Govt launches new entity for roads in northeast, border areas

NEW DELHI: The government on Wednesday launched a new company to fast-track road construction in the northeast and border areas. Billed as the first "e-PSU" using IT solutions, it will develop and widen 3,600km road with an investment of Rs 34,300 crore.

Launching the logo and vision of National Highways and Infrastructure Development Corporation (NHIDCL), road transport and highways minister Nitin Gadkari said more such tranche would be handed over to the new company for building roads, tunnels and bridges in tough terrains. He said building more stretches in other hill states and the road project to connect the upcoming Sagar Port in West Bengal will be tasked to the new company.

Though the Manmohan Singh government had approved the setting up of this fully-owned government entity to accelerate road construction on geographically tough areas, the process gained momentum after the NDA government came to power. About 10,000 km of roads have been identified for development by NHIDCL, Gadkari said.

"It has been Prime Minister Narendra Modi's vision to boost infrastructure to touch all under-developed areas in the country as well as promote e-governance. NHIDCL, which is an e-company, will fast-track projects in difficult terrains and northeast," Gadkari said.

Road secretary Vijay Chibber said the company has plans to improve road connectivity in international trade corridor, by expanding about 500km of roads in the north Bengal and northeastern region to enable efficient transport with South Asia Subregional Economic Corporation (SASEC) countries.

Managing Director of the new entity, Anand Kumar, said the company will be paperless and it would operate through e-measures. The monitoring of projects, progress and the preparatory details will be made available online to bring in more transparency, sources said.