India, Myanmar Agree to Realign Transport Project Through Kaladan River

India’s bid for an alternative trade transit route to its northeastern states took a giant leap forward with Myanmar Tuesday agreeing to a proposal to realign a strategically important multi-modal transport project through the Kaladan river in the Bay of Bengal.

The project envisages linking India’s eastern ports, particularly those in West Bengal, through the sea route to Myanmar’s newly-developing Sittwe port along River Kaladan’s mouth in Bay of Bengal and from there, building a land route through Myanmar to India’s northeast.

The project, which is likely to be completed by end of 2013, will ease out the trade traffic through the Siliguri corridor in West Bengal to the seven sisters of northeast India.

The realignment had to be made as the jetty at Sittwe had to be taken a bit upstream due to the low draught in its present location. This change will increase the lengthh of the road by another 62 km, thereby increasing the total legth of the road to 129 km,” Indian officials accompanying External Affairs Minister S.M. Krishna on his three-day visit to Myanmar said here.

Krishna, who arrived in Yangon Monday, held extensive talks with his counterpart Wunna Maung Lwin in the Myanmarese capital Tuesday, when the Kaladan project came up for a review, they said.

The identification and acquisition of land for the jetty will now begin. We are trying to have an all-weather port and jetty,” the officials said.

India has already begun the work on the project with the dredging of the Kaladan river being carried out by India’s private Essar Group.

Indian public sector company Ircon will now take up the construction of the road, but will first present a detailed project report after identifying the land for the jetty, the officials said.

Further progress will take place once the Myanmarese government approves some of the project details,” they added.

The entire project will be funded by India, with Myanmar providing the land for the jetty and road free of cost, they added.



Source: newkerala, June 22, 2011

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