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Roads matter at the periphery: India’s post-liberalization road projects in the Northeast

Rakhee Bhattacharya () and Nijara Deka ()
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Rakhee Bhattacharya: Jawaharlal Nehru University

Journal of Social and Economic Development, 2021, vol. 23, issue 2, No 6, 337 pages

Abstract: Abstract As the hilly and far-flung periphery of Northeast India was excluded from an adequate road network during the post-Independent period, it produced certain exceptional narratives of being a ‘landlocked, cut-off, inaccessible and underdeveloped’ region of India. In the post-liberalization period however, trans-boundary road projects at this periphery became essential for India’s transnational economic engagements. Subsequently, a central highway flagship programme SARDP-NE was introduced in 2005 to make the Northeast accessible and ensure its economic development. This became more nuanced since 2014 with India’s Act East Policy, which centralizes the Northeast as a ‘gateway’ of India. Multiple road projects with major emphasis on highways were undertaken and completed to restore connectivity and integrate Northeast with ‘mainland’ India. This paper empirically maps this new road infrastructure and examines its impact on the region’s economy and people’s lives. It also unfolds how the road project has visibly proliferated to serve multiple national political and geo-strategic interests, symbolizing a new form of regional power relation and control.

Keywords: Road project; Regional economy; Northeast India; SARDP-NE; Post-liberalization period (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2021
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DOI: 10.1007/s40847-021-00161-1

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