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Centre asks Nagaland Govt to frame state law to resolve land issues for better roads

First Published: 31st October, 2023 19:43 IST

Union Minister Nitin Gadkari said that MoRTH is sincerely working to build good roads all over the country, but if land is not made available there is little they can

Copy edited by Lipika Roy

In light of Nagaland’s unique land holding system, which poses obstacles for both the implementing agency and the contractors working on National Highway projects there, Union Minister for Road Transport and Highways (MoRTH), Nitin Gadkari on Tuesday asked the Nagaland government to prepare a state law to address the issue as soon as possible and help build better roads and highways in the state.

Union Minister Gadkari along with his Cabinet colleague VK Singh and Chief Ministers of all the Northeastern states held a comprehensive review meeting of the ongoing National Highway projects in the Northeastern region in Guwahati on Monday.

During the meeting, Nagaland Deputy Chief Minister T.R. Zeliang briefed Union Minister Gadkari that due to the unique land holding system in Nagaland, where every inch of land is either owned by individual or community, the State government has limited role to intervene in the matter and therefore, it is facing difficulties in resolving many land issues in the state.

Zeliang also said that the State government is vigorously working on framing State Land Laws which will help ease the problems faced at the moment.

On the matter, Union Minister Gadkari said that MoRTH is sincerely working to build good roads all over the country, but if land is not made available there is little that they can do for development of the roads.

He has requested the Nagaland government should come up with a State Law within a couple of months to help resolve the issues or the MoRTH will have to de-scope the area where there are land-related issues and hand the project over to the state government (meaning it will turn National Highways into State Highways).

It may be mentioned here that to prevent National Highways from becoming State highways, all parties involved and the State government should work together to find a solution as soon as possible. If no solution comes out, this would result in severe destabilization of road construction in the State, due to poor financial position of the State to take up any road developmental projects within its budget.

Deputy Chief Minister is personally taking up the issue of land compensation in the State and the draft law is likely to be put up before the Cabinet for final decision to correct some anomalies in the bureaucratic decisions taken in the past which has deprived the Nagas from claiming land compensation.

Deputy Chief Minister T.R. Zeliang also raised the issue of rocks falling between the Pakala Pahar stretch on NH-29 and MD NHIDCL and has assured that they are working on awarding work for protection and safety measures outside the present scope of work on that package.

He has urged the Union Minister to expedite for completion of all the packages of the 4-Lane road Dimapur-Kohima as it has been delayed for so many years.

Deputy Chief Minister also requested the Union Minister to help expedite sanction of the road projects under CRIF (Central Road Infrastructure Fund) scheme.

Due to Nagaland’s high Bank of Sanction (BoS) of 10.40 against permissible BoS of 4.00, the Ministry had expressed inability to sanction/approve new projects.

However, the State had taken serious measures to maximize fund utilization and foreclosing projects which are not progressing owing to various reasons and have managed to bring down the BoS to 5.28 from the July 2023 figure of 10.40.

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