Meghalaya: Residents of 3 Jaintia villages threaten stir over delay of Sonapur-Borkhat road project

Even after the state government has given the undertaking, the NEC did not recommend the Sonapur-Borkhat Road for approval to DONER.

The residents of Hingaria, Huroi, Lahalein and Lejri under the banner of the Joint Action Committee have threatened to protest against the state government, the North Eastern Council (NEC) if there is any further delay in approving the Sonapur-Borkhat road project.

In a statement issued here by the secretary Huroi village and Joint Action Committee of the Dorbar Shnong of the villages, Raja L Suchen stated, “Any further delay in approving the road project will only invite agitation from the people of the border village.”

“We will lead a much bigger protest against the Government and even the NEC if the request is not met within a reasonable period of time. We will not shy away even to protest before the Meghalaya Secretariat and NEC office, if need be,” he added.

Expressing dismay at the apathy of the NEC towards the road proposed under North East Road Sector Development Scheme (NERSDS), Suchen appealed the Meghalaya government, NEC and Ministry of DONER to work out that the much-delayed project of Sonapur-Borkhat road is approved as soon as possible without looking for any political consideration.

He stated that the Detailed Project Report (DPR) Sonapur-Borkhar Road proposed under NERSDS has been submitted way back in 2008-09 and has finally been forwarded to the Ministry of DoNER for approval, but to date the same is yet to be approved.

He stated that the State Government in a letter dated 03/03/2021 the Chief Secretary to the Government of Meghalaya has issued an undertaking, which certifies that the Government of Meghalaya undertakes to fund the balance portion of Rs 88.33 crore (Phase-II) and to complete the whole project in case NERSDS is not continued during the 15th Finance Commission period.

In the said letter dated March 3, 2021, a request has been made to NEC to consider sanctioning the amount of Rs.62.20 crore for the first phase of the road project at the earliest.

However, even after the state government has given the undertaking, the NEC did not recommend the Sonapur-Borkhat Road for approval to DONER, which is to be accounted from the balance outlay of 2020-2021.

“What angers us the most is the fact that NEC has instead recommended a project in the state of Nagaland which the DPR has submitted only on December 30, 2020 and consequent to this recommendation the DONER has approved and sanctioned the project from Nagaland in March 2021,” Suchen said.

He added, “Our road project has been proposed very long time but even then the NEC officials did not deem it fit for recommendation.”

He informed that the NEC as per information received has sent again the DPR for Sonapur-Borkhat on May 4, 2021 for consideration of the IMC as and when the NERSDS is approved by the 15th Finance Commission, however till date no progress has been made on this matter.

Suchen asserted that the lack of political will has delayed the approval of the said project for a long time, much to the disadvantage of the rural population.

(Edited by Christopher Gatphoh)

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