The foundation stone-laying ceremony for NH208 from Kailasahar to Khowai, a 80km-long national highway section in Tripura state, under Japan International Cooperation Agency’s (JICA)-funded North East Road Network Connectivity Improvement Project Phase 4, was virtually held yesterday. The event saw the presence of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Ramesh Bais Sarbananda, Governor of Tripura, and other dignitaries.
The NH208 from Kailasahar to Khowai section is implemented by National Highways Infrastructure Development Corporation (NHIDCL), government of India with financial support by the government of Japan, amounting to JPY 14,926 million (approximately Rs 982 crore) as part of the regional connectivity improvement in the North Eastern States. Once the road is completed, travelling time between Kaliashar and Khowai will be drastically reduced. While the existing land route requires 3 hours 40 minutes, people will be able to make this trip by a half – an hour and 40 minutes of travel time.
JICA says it has supported improving and constructing prioritised national highways (Total 523km) through the North East Connectivity Improvement Projects (Phase 1 - Phase 3). Phase 1 project is currently under implementation to improve and construct NH51 from Tura to Daru (51.5km) in Meghalaya state and NH54 from Aizawl to Tuipang (350.7km) in Mizoram.
Phase 2 Project is to improve and construct NH40 in Meghalaya and NH54 by passes in Mizoram. NH40 from Shillong to Dawki (81km) and new 5 by-passes section (21.4km) are under construction.
Under the Phase 3, construction for Dhubri-Phulbari Bridge (19.282km) across the Bramaphtra River (Dhubri, Assam and Phullbari in Meghalaya) have started since last February, 2021.
Speaking on the occasion, Katsuo Matsumoto, Chief Representative, JICA India said, “This road construction is expected to strengthen not only regional connectivity within North East states but also cross-border connectivity between India and Bangladesh. This project is expected to bring about huge socio and economic impacts in facilitating the movement of people and the flow of goods. For example, passenger volume (person/year) as well as cargo volume (ton/year) are also expected to be increased from 1.8 million in 2019 to 4.7 million in 2026 (person/year) and 95,000 in 2019 to 3.3 million (ton/year) in 2026 respectively. JICA has been currently supported to build the bridges and road development in Bangladesh to provide seamless traffic flow across countries. Thus this project is positioned as one of the symbols of Japan-India cooperation to enhance regional connectivity. “
Since 2008, Japan, through its funding agency known as JICA, has extended 231 billion Japanese Yen (approximately Rs 15,795 crore) as concessional ODA loans for development of North East Region.