Union Minister Nitin Gadkari on Monday dedicated to the nation the renovated and upgraded National Highway-44, which would boost industrial development in Meghalaya.
The Minister for Road Transport and Highways will also review problems and issues faced in the execution of National Highway projects in the north-east here, over the next two days.
Highlighting the importance of the upgraded NH-44, Gadkari said the road passes through coal and cement belts in the state.
“The NH-44 is important for development of industries in Meghalaya... The highway is significant, particularly for cement manufacturers. It will increase production and create more jobs for the youth in the area,” he said.
Gadkari said the road will reduce travel time from four hours to two hours between Jowai in West Jaintia Hills district and Sonapur in East Jaintia Hills district bordering Silchar.
The minister said the Jowai-Ratacherra highway will also boost fast movement of goods, including bamboo, from Barrak valley in Assam to other north-eastern states.
“This highway will uplift the bamboo industry in the region,” he said.
The construction for the 102-km long highway began in November 2015 and was completed in March this year, two months ahead of schedule, officials said.
Gadkari said it incurred a total cost of Rs 683 crore and the stretch has three major and 44 minor bridges, and a 143-meter long tunnel.
Meanwhile, Meghalaya Chief Minister Conrad K Sangma expressed gratefulness to the central government for having taken up the upgradation of NH-44.
“It is truly a very important and historic day and a proud moment not only for Meghalaya but for the entire north eastern region that we have been able to complete this road in a record time,” he said.