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MoRTH threatens to cancel road projects in Meghalaya

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Ministry concerned over state government’s inability to resolve
land acquisition problems

By Our Reporter

SHILLONG, June 28: The Meghalaya government’s inability to resolve land acquisition problems for vital road projects has drawn sharp criticism from the Ministry of Road Transport and Highways (MoRTH) which has threatened to cancel road projects sanctioned for the state if the land acquisition problems persist.
Disclosing this on Friday, Chief Minister Conrad K Sangma, who recently held a meeting with the Union minister in New Delhi, said the Ministry is concerned about the problems of land acquisition which is not happening at the pace expected by them.
During the meeting, the chief minister told the ministry that the state government is on the verge of completing 100 per cent land acquisition for the Shillong Western Bypass. The ministry was updated about the land acquisition hurdle that exists only in certain stretches running for a few kilometers.
The ministry also raised concerns about issues related to forests to which the government clarified that 90 per cent of the issues have been resolved while the remaining ones will be resolved in a couple of months, the chief minister said.
According to Sangma, the ministry took strong exception to the delay in land acquisition proceedings and asked the state government to bypass those areas where land acquisition proceedings have been delayed for long.
Urging the concerned stakeholders to cooperate in matters related to road projects, the chief minister also disclosed that there were certain concerns regarding the ambitious proposal of a four-lane road from Umiam till Silchar. The initial survey of the proposed high-speed corridor is pending in certain sections, he added.
It is pertinent to note that the National Highway Infrastructure Development Corporation Ltd (NHIDCL) had earlier warned of terminating the road projects in the state if it did not receive support from the Meghalaya government with regards to land acquisition.
NHIDCL officials had said its projects have hardly been implemented in Meghalaya because of the indifference of the state government.
The officials had said that the government did not disburse the compensation to the landowners for the Shillong Western Bypass even though the corporation deposited the entire land acquisition funds with the government months ago.
The NHIDCL is yet to receive the possession of land covering 25 pockets and stretching 710 metres for the Mawshun Bypass under Package 4 from Saitbakan to Wakhadai four years after the project was sanctioned.
An order was issued recently to halt the survey for the Pynursla Bypass, which is a part of the Shillong-Dawki road project, as the state government could not resolve the land-related issues for a stretch of 1.4 km for the road project.

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