India to improve road links with Bangladesh, Myanmar


Agartala : India will invest Rs.1,666 crore (Rs.16.66 billion) to develop highways in Tripura and Mizoram to improve connectivity of the landlocked northeastern states with Bangladesh and Myanmar, an official said here Sunday.

Support TwoCircles

“The Cabinet Committee on Infrastructure (CCI) gave clearance for four-laning of the National Highway 44 (from Shillong) up to Tripura’s southern most border town of Sabroom,” a senior government official tols IANS.

The distance between Sabroom and Chittagong international port in southeast Bangladesh is just 75 km.

The official said: “The high powered committee (HPC) of the union government, set up to finalise the projects in the northeast, has also sanctioned a new highway from Mizoram to Myanmar border.”

The new 100-km highway, from Lawngtalai in eastern Mizoram to Myanmar border at an estimated cost of Rs.650 crore, would provide linkage to the under-construction Sittwe port in Myanmar.

India is developing the Sittwe port in Myanmar at a cost of Rs.5.4 billion and the port on the Kaladan river would be a gateway for the northeastern states to the rest of the world. The Kaladan river connects Mizoram to the Bay of Bengal.

“After the completion of the project in 2012, Mizoram would be a gateway for international trade,” the official said.

“Sittwe project will provide an alternate route between the landlocked northeast region and the rest of the world. Goods from northeast can reach southern India through the Bay of Bengal via Sittwe,” the official told IANS.

“We can also bring goods from Sittwe to any Indian port by using sea routes as the distance between Kolkata and Sittwe is just 600 km,” he said.

“The two ambitious projects were approved three days back,” the official said.

Tripura Chief Minister Manik Sarkar, addressing a seminar here Friday, said: “The railways is also extending tracks up to Sabroom and then it would be very easy to connect with the Chittagong port.

“After the development of the national highways and extension of railway line, Tripura and the entire northeast would be linked with Southeast Asia,” Sarkar said.

Under the Special Accelerated Road Development Programme for North Eastern Region (SARDP-NE), an expenditure of Rs.390 crore would be incurred and the union ministry of road transport and highways would also spend a similar amount on four-laning the 330-km Assam-Agartala National Highway 44.

An allocation of Rs.236 crore is also available for pre-construction and land acquisition activities.

“The NH-44 will provide easy connectivity to Tripura with East-West Corridor being developed up to southern Assam,” the official pointed out.

The 7,300-km (four to six lanes) North-South and East-West Corridors (NS-EW) is the largest ongoing highway project in India.

It is the second phase of the National Highways Development Project (NHDP) expressways connecting Srinagar, Kanyakumari, Porbandar and Silchar in southern Assam at a cost of $12.317 billion.