Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) signed an agreement with the Government of India to provide Official Development Assistance Loan (ODA) of 25,483 million Japanese Yen (approximately INR 1,570 Crore) for the ‘North East Road Network Connectivity Improvement Project Phase-III (Tranche I)’. The objective of the Project is to improve connectivity in the North-Eastern region of India by bridging the long-awaited gap between Meghalaya and Assam through the constructing of 4-lane bridge across Brahmaputra River. With the construction of the bridge the socio-regional development of the region will be promoted and the travel time between Meghalaya and Assam will considerably be reduced. The ODA loan agreement was signed between Shohei Hara, Director General, South Asia Department, JICA and Mr. Sujan R. Chinoy, Ambassador of India to Japan on October 29, 2018 at Tokyo.
Speaking on the occasion, Mr. Katsuo Matsumoto, Chief Representative, JICA India said, “JICA understands the need for creating a robust road network that will connect various geographies within the North-Eastern Region (NER) and will help in fostering dependent communities. Currently, people take longer routes or use small boats to cross the river, the Project will ensure ease of travel in a timely manner. This network, which will be the longest river bridge in India, will allow the local population to travel conveniently and will bring in a transformation, essential for both better living standards and vigorous industrial development. The Project is expected to contribute to “Japan-India Act East Forum” which aims to expand the cooperation between Japan and India in NER”.
The Executing Agency for the Project is National Highways and Infrastructure Development Corporation Limited (NHIDCL).
The Phase-III of the Project includes construction of the about 20 kilometers long four lane bridge between Dhubri in Assam and Phulbari in Meghalaya. The bridge will be built with emergency staircases, approach sections and necessary traffic facilities. Under Indian Road Congress (IRC) the width of each lance of the main road is 3.5 meters with the design speed at 100km/h. The bridge structure comprises of the navigational portion, which has a span of 125 meters and the viaduct portion with a span of 60 meters.
Including the amount extended for Phase–III, JICA has extended a cumulative ODA loan of 184,895 million Japanese Yen (approximately over INR 11,900 Crore) for the North East Road Connectivity Project. Phase-I covered improvement of National Highway (NH)-51 and NH-54 in Mizoram and Meghalaya states, respectively. Phase-II helped in laying bypasses for NH-40 in Meghalaya and National Highway 54 bypasses in Mizoram. Both the Phases helped in improving connectivity in the NER through upgradation of Transit infrastructure.
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