Kaladan road project runs into roadblock
Aizawl | Monday, Nov 26 2012 IST
The Kaladan Multi Modal Transit Transport Project which aims to connect Mizoram with Myanmar, has come to a complete halt due to excessive land compensation claims.
State PWD officials said there were over 800 fresh claims for land compensation, in addition to the addition to the 160 claims which had already been paid. PWD chief engineer (national highways) K Lalsawmvela said many claims appeared inauthentic as the land passes were computerised even though they had been issued long before computers came to Mizoram. He suspected that the land passes were backdated by the concerned authority, Lai autonomous district council (LADC). The Rs 583.81-crore project, funded by the Ministry of External Affairs, envisages construction of 99 kilometres standard two-land highway to connect Mizoram's Lawngtlai town with Setpyitpyin (Kaletwa) in Myanmar along the Kaladan river.
The 62-km road in the other side of the border would be constructed by Myanmar government with financial assistance from India. Chief Minister Lal Thanhawla, who is currently touring southern Mizoram, had an emergent meeting with PWD officials, Lawngtlai DC and LADC officials at Lawngtlai to sort out the hurdles. The meeting agreed to conduct joint verification to check the authenticity of the claims at the earliest possible time. PWD officials said 42 kilometres had been constructed and the entire road constructions would be completed by May next year without any hurdles.
Land acquisition for the project had already been carried out with the district collector concerned and all the authentic claims were cleared, officials said. About Rs 6.88 crore had been paid to 166 landowners whose land passes were verified to be authentic. The Kaladan Multi-Modal Transit Transport Project (KMMTT), for which India and Myanmar signed an agreement in 2008, also includes dredging and modernising Sittwe port and dredging sections of the Kaladan River for large ship access. Part of India's Look East Policy, the project aims to further increase the Indo-Burma economic relationship as well as provide additional opportunities to connect commerce with India's seven sister states in the northeast. The project will connect Kolkata seaport with Sittwe port in Myanmar by sea; it will then link Sittwe to Mizoram via river and road transport. This project would reduce distance from Kolkata to Sittwe by approximately 1328 kilometres saving a lot of money, time and energy and also providing northeast India a route to import and export goods out of the region. UNI ZS LR RD1956 NNNN
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