File image of the KMMTTP project
Kaladan Multi Modal Transit Transport Project, which will connect south Mizoram’s Lawngtlai district with the neighbouring country, is nearing completion Credit: EastMojo image

Mizoram Public Works Department said over 96% “physical progress” has been already achieved in the ambitious cross-border Kaladan Multi Modal Transit Transport Project (KMMTTP) on Mizoram side, an official said on Wednesday.

During an interaction with Mizoram governor Hari Babu Kambhampati at the Raj Bhavan here on Tuesday, the state PWD officials, led by additional chief secretary to the chief minister and PWD secretary JC Ramthanga, briefed the governor on the progress of the bilateral project, the official said.

The PWD officials informed Kambhampati they had completed about 96.21 per cent of the overall project. Of the 87.51 km stretch of road within Mizoram, 84.19 km had already been completed.

The construction of eight bridges is in progress, they said.

Kambhampati said that when completed, the project would boost economic and cultural ties with the neighbouring countries.

He also said that the route would facilitate cheaper transportation costs of goods and commodities from other parts of India to the Northeastern states and vice versa.

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

The project, which was initially scheduled to be completed by 2014, will bring the NE region closer to Kolkata by half the current distance.

According to PWD officials, the KMMTTP comprises land, river and sea routes. The project, when completed, would first link the eastern Indian seaport of Kolkata to the 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 (150 km). Paletwa will then be connected to the India-Myanmar border by a 105.70-km-long road.

The international border or Zorinpui (the starting point on Mizoram side) will then be connected by road with southernmost Mizoram’s Lawngtlai town 87.51 km away.

The total length of the route is 882.21 km.

The Mizoram PWD is looking after the construction of a new 2-lane Highway to support KMMTTP under Phase A of SARDP-NE within Mizoram from Lawngtlai to Zorinpui, the Indo-Myanmar border point. The remaining sector-beyond the border of Mizoram (India)-is under the Ministry of External Affairs.

The road component within Mizoram (Lawngtlai to Zorinpui) was conceived during 2010-2011 and the works commenced in 2013, according to PWD officials.

The original estimate was Rs 579.65 crore (on August 2010) which has been revised to Rs 1,028.15 crore, they said.

This project is divided into three packages. As per a report given to the Governor by PWD officials, they are waiting for a sanction of the revised estimate of Packages I and III.

They said that the delay coupled with a court case on land acquisition hampered the project progress. However, they are hopeful of overcoming these minor hurdles to complete the project within a year.

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