India to expedite projects in Myanmar

NEW DELHI, Oct 31 – Facing long delays, the Centre has decided to expedite work on a number of ongoing projects in Myanmar, which are crucial for India’s Act East Policy.According to sources, it was envisaged that work in projects like Kaladan Road, construction of 69 bridges for the Trilateral Highway Project and construction of the Kalewa-Yargi Road would be awarded in 2016-17. However, the tendering process has not been completed due to various reasons, including the bids received being at high variance from the estimated cost of work in some cases.

The delay led to reduction in budgetary allocation at the 2016-17 stage to avoid lapsing of unutilised funds. The work in these projects is expected to be awarded this fiscal (2017-18). The commencement of these projects will ensure optimal utilisation of the allocated budget, said sources.

The allocation under ‘Aid to Myanmar’ was Rs 400 crore in 2016-17. However, it was reduced to Rs 120 crore. For 2017-18, the allocation has been kept at Rs 225 crore. Explaining the reasons for reducing the allocation in 2017-18, sources said that the Government of India has a longstanding policy of deepening integration with Myanmar, which shares a border with four of our Northeastern states. “Such integration will not only help us meet the needs of our Northeastern states, but also further our Act East Policy,” said sources.

The works include construction of the road component of the Kaladan project, construction of 69 bridges and the Kalewa-Yargi road of the Trilateral Highway project, the Advance Centre for Agriculture Research and Education, Myanmar Institute of Information Technology, to name a few, said sources.

About the construction of 69 bridges, including approach roads in the Tamu-Kyigone-Kalewa (TKK) road section of the Trilateral Highway in Myanmar, sources said that India is undertaking construction of the bridges in the TKK road section (149.7 km) of the Trilateral Highway in Myanmar at a cost of Rs 371.58 crore. The Project Management Consultant (PMC) for implementing the project has been appointed. Currently, the tendering for appointment of contractor is under way.

India is also undertaking upgradation of the Kalewa-Yargi road section (120.74 km) of the Trilateral Highway in Myanmar at a cost of Rs 1459.29 crore, sources said.

Furnishing details of the progress made in implementation of the Kaladan Multi Modal Transit Project, sources said the Kaladan Multi Modal Transit Transport Project includes a waterways component of 158 km on Kaladan river from Sittwe to Paletwa in Myanmar, and a road component of 109 km from Paletwa to Zorinpui on the India-Myanmar border in Mizoram.

The construction of original waterways component is close to completion and this is scheduled to be ready this year. Work awarded on the additional facilities, approved subsequently under waterways, is also progressing well, the sources added.

The construction of the road between Paletwa and Zorinpui, a project consultant has been appointed, bids for construction of road under engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) mode have been obtained after due site inspection and the evaluation is currently under way. The road construction will take 36 months. All efforts are being made to complete the project as per the revised schedule, said sources.

About the various ongoing projects in Myanmar, sources said that India is committed to supporting the Government of Myanmar in its initiatives for the socio-economic development of its people. In keeping with this, several people-centric projects are being undertaken by India in Myanmar, sources claimed.

Source: The Assam Tribune

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