New Delhi: Union minister for Road Transport, Highways and MSMEs Nitin Gadkari laid the foundation stone for country’s first Multi-modal Logistic Park at Jogighopa in Assam today. The Rs 693.97 crore park will provide direct air, road, rail and waterways connectivity to the people. It will be developed under the ambitious Bharatmala Pariyojana of the Government of India.

An MoU was signed between NHIDCL and Ashoka paper mills, Govt of Assam on the occasion for sharing of land and logistics in Jogighopa.

Speaking on the occasion, Shri Nitin Gadkari said that his Ministry envisages developing 35 Multi-modal Logistic Parks (MMLPs) in the country, of which work on preparing DPR and feasibility report is underway. He said, SPVs will be formed for all these MMLPs, and professionally qualified CEOs will be appointed for each separately. The first such MMLP is being made by NHIDCL in Jogighopa of Assam, which will be connected to road, rail, air and waterways. This is being developed in 317-acre land along the Brahmaputra. Shri Gadkari said, the first phase of construction is scheduled to be completed by 2023. He informed that works worth Rs 280 crore have already been awarded, including Rs 171 crore for road construction, Rs 87 crore for erecting the structure, and Rs 23 crore for rail lines. The work will begin next month, he said. The Minister expressed hope that this project will provide direct or indirect employment to nearly 20 lakh youth in the State.

The Minister added that the distance of 154 km between Jogighopa and Guwahati will be covered by making a 4-lane road on this stretch, a 3-km rail line will connect Jogighopa station to the MMLP, another 3-km rail link will connect it to the IWT, and the road to newly developed Rupsi airport will be upgraded to 4-lanes for easier connectivity. He said, the MMLP will have all the facilities like, warehouse, railway siding, cold storage, custom clearance house, yard facility, workshops, petrol pumps, truck parking, administrative building, boarding lodging, eating joints, water treatment plant, etc.

Shri Gadkari informed that the initial report and master plan is ready for the 346 acre MMLP with JNPT in Wardha Dry port area of Nagpur. Feasibility reports are being prepared for the Bangalore MMLP, Sangrur warehouse complex in Punjab, Surat, Mumbai, Indore, Patna, Hyderabad, Vijayawada, and Coimbatore. DPR is being made for MMLP near Chennai port, and studies have begun for MMLP in Pune and Ludhiana. Other 22 MMLPs are proposed in Ahmedabad, Rajkot, Kandla, Vadodara, Ludhiana, Amritsar, Jullundur, Bhatinda, Hissar, Ambala, Kota, Jaipur, Jagatsinghpur, Sundarnagar. Delhi, Kolkata, Pune, Nashik, Panaji, Bhopal, Raipur, and Jammu.

The minister further informed that his ministry has plans for National Highway works worth Rs 80,000 crore in Assam. He said, NH works for 575 km worth Rs. 3,545 crore are going to be completed within this financial year. NH works of nearly Rs 15,000 crore will be awarded by next year, while DPRs will be completed for works of Rs 21,000 crore for the State. He said, under the CRIF scheme, 203 km NH length at a cost of Rs 610 crore has been approved for 2020-21. The Minister also announced clearing of a number of Road proposals from different MPs and MLAs for the State.

Shri Gadkari also informed that a total of 12 accident black spots have been identified on National Highways in Assam, of which three have been temporarily improved. He said, all the black spots will be eradicated by the year 2023.

Chief minister Sarbananda Sonowal presided over the virtual function, which was attended by union ministers of State Dr Jitendra Singh, Gen (Retd) Dr V K Singh and Rameshwar Teli.

Union Minister of State (I/c) for Development of North Eastern Region and Minister of State for Prime Minister’s Office; Personnel, Public Grievances and Pensions; Department of Atomic Energy and Department of Space Dr Jitendra Singh outlined the efforts of Shri Nitin Gadkari in clearing the developmental projects in the NE. He said, it was due to the herculean efforts of Shri Gadkari that today, we have a wide network of roads in the region. He introduced inland waterways to us, now more than 10 waterways are being developed, which will bring down the logistic cost by one fourth. Dr. Jitendra Singh said Shri Gadkari has also addressed the problems of dilapidated and orphaned roads through Special Road Development Schemes. He said, this cost effective mode of transport will be cheaper option for trade, business and transportation and will boost the trade across the borders especially with our eastern neighbours by leaps and bounds. He said, MMLP is a novel idea, and will be replicated by other states soon. The minister said, due to several unique and innovative mega projects, NE has emerged as a model of development in the country, similarly, roads have improved in the region.

Chief minister Sarbananda Sonowal, Union Minister of State for RTH Gen (Retd) Dr V K Singh, MoS for Food Processing Industries Shri Rameshwar Teli, Ministers from the State Dr Himanta Biswa Sarma, Shri Chandra Mohan Potwary, and Shri Phani Bhushan Choudhury also addressed the event.