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Kaladan Corridor Project Likely To Be completed by 2016: VK Singh

Trilateral Highway

India-Myanmar-Thailand Trilateral Highway. (Image Credit: The Hindu)

NEW DELHI, Aug 14: Two major transport projects –Kaladan Multi-modal Transit and India-Myanmar-Thailand trilateral highway — which will link India with a number of ASEAN countries are likely to be completed by 2016.

Union Minister V K Singh said this while noting that the two projects will open up the northeastern region to vibrant economies of the South East Asian countries.

In a written speech at an event, read out by Secretary, Eastern Region in Ministry of External Affairs Sujata Mehta, Singh said the transport corridors through Myanmar would be key to development of the northeastern states.

“The Kaladan Multi-modal Transit Transport Model is expected to be fully completed by 2016. The India- Myanmar-Thailand trilateral highway corridor is also one such projects that we hope will be ready by 2016 and open up tremendous possibility of trade and investment in the region,” he said.

The event was organized to release a report on ‘Transforming Connectivity Corridors between India and Myanmar into Development Corridors’.

“It is clear to me that the development of the northeast is organically and intrinsically linked with South East Asia. This vision has clearly been spelt out in our ‘Look East Policy’,” the Minister of State for Development of North Eastern Region said.

The report has been prepared by Research and Information System for Developing Countries (RIS), an autonomous think-tank under the Ministry of External Affairs.

Vice-chairman, RIS and former Ambassador to Myanmar, VS Seshadri, under whose guidance the report has been made, said “The Kaladan project when implemented will connect Kolkata to Sittwe port in Myanmar, and then further to Mizoram through river and road.

“From Sittwe the route involves travelling multi-modally through Kaladan River till Paletwa, about 158 km. And, from there two stretches of roads of roughly 100 km each — from Paletwa to Indo-Myanmar Border (in Myanmar) and from the border to Lawngtlai (in India).”

India and Myanmar had signed a framework agreement in 2008 for the implementation of the Kaladan Multi-modal Transit Transport Project (KMTTP).

The India-Myanmar-Thailand highway project to link the three countries was conceived at the trilateral ministerial meeting on transport linkages in Yangon in April 2002.

The highways will run from Moreh in Manipur to Mae Sot in Thailand via Myanmar and represent a significant step in establishing connectivity between India and South East Asian countries.

According to the report, the implementation of the project commenced formally in December 2010. As of April 1, jetty pile work at Paletwa has been completed and construction work of IWT (Inland Water Transport) terminal there started in 2013, it said.

All items of work relating to Inland Waterway are expected to be completed by December. As for the road component, the detailed project report (DPR) prepared for it has been shared with Myanmar, it said.

“The project (Kaladan) was supposed to complete earlier but got delayed due to change in plans. The Kaladan river route was shortened as a certain portion of it is not navigable during the dry season, and therefore the road portion was extended,” Seshadri said.

Seshadri, who served as Myanmar’s ambassador from 2010-13, in the report has also highlighted the growing “informal border trade” at Zokhawthar.

The report also has put timelines for several other road and railway projects.

The waterway component of the Kaladan project is targeted for completion by end of this year.

Broad gauge conversion of the Lumding-Badarpur section of North East Frontier Railway (NEFR) in India is targeted for completion by 2015 and Rhi-Tiddim Road in Myanmar by 2018, it said.

The report listed several India-assisted developmental projects in Myanmar which include Industrial Training Centre, Pakokku and Industrial Training Centre, Myingyan and India- Myanmar Centre for Enhancement of Information Technology Skills.

A Rs 20-crore restoration project of Ananda temple in Bagan is currently under implementation, it said.

(Courtesy: Press Trust of India)

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