Shillong - The biggest hurdle in implementing infrastructure projects in the northeastern states is the lack of competent contractors, an Asian Development Bank (ADB) official said Wednesday.
"One of the biggest challenges for the region is to attract big construction companies to complete the projects within a time-frame," Hun Kim, ADB's country director for India, said.
The bank is funding the Northeast Capital Cities Development Investment Programme in Agartala, Aizawl, Kohima, Gangtok and Shillong. The $200,000 project was sanctioned in 2009.
In Assam, the bank has funded close to $1 billion.
One of the projects is Assam's Power Sector Enhancement Investment Programme (facility concept), where the bank approved $200,000 in 2009.
Hun was here to discuss issues and challenges in developing and executing infrastructure of projects in the landlocked region.
The meeting was also attended by officials of the central government, states, World Bank, International Finance Corporation and International Fund for Agricultural Development.
"We need competent contractors. But because of the geographical location of the region and distance, it is difficult to attract competent contractors to the region," Hun said.
Moreover, he said factors such as the hostile terrain and scarcity of human resources and contribution of the states towards the projects were some of the other challenges.
However, he said multilateral developmental agencies, including the ADB, were constantly trying to build capacity of the project states to help bring in competent contractors for the ongoing projects.
He said externally-aided projects was a new phenomenon for the region and only during the past five years, multilateral developmental agencies entered the region largely with the assistance of the central government.
Hun said that once the region's infrastructure was developed, it would help build a favourable investment climate, which would eventually lead to overall development of the region.