India-Myanmar road project nearing completion: Mizoram CM

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Aizawl, Mar 10 (PTI) The construction of a cross- border road between Mizoram's Lawngtlai town and neighbouring Myanmars Sittwe port is nearing completion, Chief Minister Zoramthanga informed the state assembly on Wednesday.

The road is part of the Kaladan multi-modal transit transport project which is being viewed as India's gateway to Southeast Asia and the project, when completed, will connect Kolkata with Sittwe seaport in Myanmar.

The chief minister, who also holds the Public Works Department portfolio, said that the length of the road between Lawngtlai town and the international border is 87.18 km and the work for a stretch of only 1.5 km is left to be completed.

The construction of the road in Mizoram side was scheduled to be completed by June this year, Zoramthanga said while replying to a question from the ruling Mizo National Front member K Pachhunga.

The construction work of the road began in Mizoram in 2010 but it was disrupted several times over compensation issues, he said.

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

The Ministry of External Affairs provided funds to the Myanmar government for the construction of the road in that country but work was also affected as the Rakhine based armed group Arakan Army demanded 10 per cent tax from the constructing agencies, he said.

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

Zoramthanga, who is a former rebel leader, said that the construction of the road in Myanmar has resumed after he negotiated with Arakan Army leaders with whom he has a good network.

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

The bilateral Kaladan multi-modal transit transport project was launched in April 2008. PTI COR NN NN