Indian Railways
Indian RailwaysReuters

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh chaired a meeting on the progress of infrastructure development in the north-eastern region.

Among those present at the meeting were finance minister, civil aviation minister, railway minister, minister for road transport and highways, telecom minister, minister for power, minister for DONER and the deputy chairman of the planning commission.

Railway, road, airport, power and telecom projects in the region were reviewed in the meeting. The focus was to speed up implementation of ongoing projects and also to ensure electronic connectivity. The deputy chairman of the planning commission reported that eight states of the region grew at 9.95 percent during the XI plan period, well above the national average of 8 percent. 

The finance ministry would give an additional ₹400 crore for the completion of the three critical railway projects in the north-east by March 2014.

The three projects are the Harmati-Naharlagun project to provide the first rail connectivity to Arunachal Pradesh, the Dudhnoi-Mendipathar project to connect Meghalaya, and the Rangapara-North Lakhimpur project. 

The railway ministry committed that the first trial runs will begin on these lines in January 2014. The finance ministry will also provide up to ₹200 crore for two more projects i.e. the Lumding-Silchar gauge conversion and the Bogibeel Bridge. Also, additional funds from the NLCPR would be provided for Intra-State Transmission line networks in Arunachal Pradesh and Sikkim

An Empowered Committee will be set up to monitor progress on all infrastructure projects in the region. 

The prime minister also directed the Planning Commission to call a meeting of all the chief ministers of the north-eastern states to improve inter-state coordination for speedy completion of the infrastructure projects.