Mizoram CM Zoramthanga | File image Credit: EastMojo image

Aizawl: The construction of a cross-border road between Mizoram’s Lawngtlai town and Myanmar’s Sittwe port under the Kaladan Multi-Modal Transit Transport Project (KMMTTP) is nearing completion, Chief Minister Zoramthanga informed the state assembly on Wednesday.

Zoramthanga, who also holds the Public Work Department (PWD) portfolio, said construction of a 87.18-km long road on Mizoram side under the bilateral project of India and Myanmar began in October 2010.

“The construction of road in Mizoram side is scheduled to be completed by June this year as only 1.5 km long road is left to be constructed,” the chief minister said while replying to a question from ruling Mizo National Front (MNF) member K. Pachhunga.

However, a PWD official told PTI that the construction could get delayed as the Centre is yet to release funds for the revised estimate.

He said that more than 92 per cent of work has been completed.

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Zoramthanga said though the project began in 2010, construction of the road component in Mizoram side was disrupted several times due to compensation issues, as the amount of compensation claimed by certain land owners had increased to double when the actual work had started.

Apart from 1.5 km, all other sections of road have been already completed, he said.

The chief minister also said that the construction of the road on Myanmar side is also nearing completion.

Though the Union Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) provided funds to the Myanmar government, the construction of the road on Myanmar side was disrupted due to Rakhine-based armed group Arakan Army (AA), who demanded 10 per cent taxes from the constructing agencies, he said.

He said that he had also earlier met Prime Minister Narendra Modi and foreign secretary in Delhi and urged them to expedite the project.

Zoramthanga, who is a former rebel leader, claimed that the construction of road component in Myanmar side has resumed in recent times after he negotiated with the Arakan Army leaders because of his good network.

He said that the negotiation was held with the dual permission of both India and Myanmar governments.

The  KMMTTP is a bilateral project of India and Myanmar, which was launched in April, 2008 by the Congress led UPA government as part of its ‘Look East’ (now Act East) policy.

It is being launched under  Special Accelerated Road Development Programme for North Eastern Region  (A) scheme of Ministry of Road Transport and Highways (MoRTH). The original estimate of the project was Rs 575.69 crore and was initially scheduled to be completed by 2014.

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The project when completed would first link the eastern Indian seaport of Kolkata to Sittwe seaport in Myanmar across the Bay of Bengal, a distance of 539 km.

From Sittwe, the route will continue over river Kaladan to the western Myanmarese town of Paletwa.

Paletwa will then be connected to the India-Myanmar border by a 110-km-long road.

The international border will then be connected by road with southernmost Mizoram’s Lawngtlai town 87.18 km away.

The construction of the road component in Mizoram side began in 2010 and is being worked by two companies – RDS Project Limited and Odisa based Atlanta ARSS (JV).

The road is designed to be a national highway double lanes standard. 

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