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Mizoram to lay roads with World Bank aid


Aizawl: The northeastern state Mizoram expects to get financial aid from the World Bank for the development of roads in the mountainous state, bordering Myanmar and Bangladesh, officials said here Saturday.

“A four-member World Bank team visited various parts of Mizoram earlier this week. The World Bank officials are strongly pushing for a free trade regime in the region and keen to provide technical and financial support for infrastructural projects,” a Mizoram Public Works Department (PWD) official told reporters.

The World Bank team was led by the Bank’s South Asia Region Senior Operations Officer, Diep Nguyen-Van Houtte.

The PWD official said: “During their trip, the team visited the Champhai-Zokhawthar border area (in eastern Mizoram) and other international trade points in the state. The visit is essentially linked to providing funding for the Mizoram State Roads Project Phase II under its Roads Infrastructure Development Programme.”

According to the official, the Rs.2,000 crore project was earlier approved by the central government under the externally aided projects component.

“The project includes trade infrastructure, including roads linking all existing border trade points with Myanmar and Bangladesh,” the official said.

Lack of financial assistance by banks and other financial institutions and logistical infrastructure as well as absence of coordination with the neighbouring countries has stunted the growth of the border trade and other commercial centres.

The official said that the much expected Kaladan Multi Modal Transit Transport Project to link the sea route in Myanmar with Mizoram under India’s Look East Policy is scheduled for completion in 2014.

Earthwork for Widening of National Highway-154 (Bilkhawthlir to Bairabi) to double lane standard has been completed. Widening of National Highway-54 (Kawnpui to Aizawl) is in progress.

Construction of the high level double-lane bridge over river Tut and River Tlawng are in progress, and expected to be completed soon. Under the Pradhan Mantri Gram Sadak Yojana (Prime Minister’s Village Road Projects), work is being undertaken to improve and upgrade many roads.

Industry-starved Mizoram is a special category state with a population of little over one million and, like most small states, constrained by deficient infrastructure.