“Dragging on for too long…” CM Rio bats for Foothill Road first

A view of the Doyang Bridge in Liphanyan, Wokha under Nagaland Foothills Road. (Morung file photo)

A view of the Doyang Bridge in Liphanyan, Wokha under Nagaland Foothills Road. (Morung file photo)

Morung Express News
Kohima | March 1

Chief Minister, Neiphiu Rio on Friday asserted on the urgency to first build the Foothill Road from Tizit to Dimapur, which has been dragging on for too long.

The earthwork in formation cutting and embankment of 128.00 Km (single lane road configuration) from Dimapur to Tizit (Total 300.00 Km) length was completed during 2014-15 wherein one RCC Bridge of 134.8m near Governor’s camp has been completed.

 In a starred question raised by A. Nyamnyei Konyak, Minister PWD (R&B) G Kaito Aye said that the Government did pursue under NEC but the project being a mega project could not be taken up under NEC. Hence, it has proposed the project under various schemes/Ministries such as MoRTH (first under Bharat Mala Scheme and later proposed to be taken up as NH) and PM Gati Shakti. 

Aye also informed that Rs 67 crore was provided under SPA (Special Plan Assistance) during 2013-14 and 2014-15 with which 128 kms of road (total unconnected portion between Dimapur and Tizit) was constructed and an RCC Double lane bridge over Doyang River of span 134.8 m was started. 

The state government also, he said provided Rs 30 crore in 2021-22 out of which Rs 9.50 crore was used to complete the above RCC double lane bridge while Rs 20.50 crore was utilised for clearing of landslides, restoration of subsidence areas, construction of culverts etc on Dimapur to Tizit stretch of the Foothill road. 

In the current Financial Year 2023-24, an amount of Rs 148.50 crore has been earmarked by the CM/FM for this road under SASCI (Special Assistance to States for Capital Investment) with which the Department will be able to upgrade this road from Dimapur to Tizit to single lane all weather road by providing GSB/stone metal on entire stretch of 300 km and required culverts, cross drains and protection works, stated the reply.

Subsequently members Jwenga Seb, Achumbemo Kikon, Kaito Aye and Jacob Zhimomi shared their views and made some suggestions.

To this, Chief Minister said the Foothill road is not only the concern of the people who are going to use the road which involves six districts but is a concern for the whole state. 

Briefly highlighting that in 1993-94, when the issue was raised, the NEC had approved but that approval was brought and discussion took place wherein Assam CM objected owing to border dispute and was kept in abeyance. Subsequently, NEC had abandoned the proposal.

“Over the years, not only government but civil society and foothill demand committees have been pursuing this. We also demanded that Foothill road should be developed and declared as NH. We have pursued and gone to all possible corners and knocked every door,” claimed Rio.

Referring to the Ministry report stating that this road has no traffic density and cannot qualify for NH, Rio said, it then decided to call it Foothill or Trans Nagaland Highway, and the state government will invest and build the road whatever money it gets for the state.

“Despite the financial constraint why we are investing so much money on this was because we want to see that at least from Tizit to Dimapur is made pliable, if not black top, perhaps seasonal road,” stated Rio.

While appreciating the members of the House for sharing their views and suggestions, Rio said “let us first build this road which has been dragging on for too long. Let us not bring all the problems together and bungle it up and fail to reach our target.”

Seeking the support and cooperation of the Minister-in-charge of R&B, technical wings and MLAs of the border area, he also reminded the members wherein the people have agreed to give their lands for free, except for damage compensation. ‘Based on this, we have been investing money from all corners believing we can make it through,” stated Rio appealing the members for their cooperation.