New Delhi (Sputnik) — The Narendra Modi government has approved spending of $241 million for upgrading and widening 65 kilometers of Imphal-Moreh Section of NH-39 in the northeastern state of Manipur.
"North East has always been a focus of government especially from an infrastructure point of view. We have approved project worth $241 million for north-east, Manipur to Myanmar road connectivity. This will further provide connectivity to Malaysia, Singapore…," Nitin Gadkari told reporters in New Delhi after the Cabinet meeting.
Imphal-Moreh stretch is a critical link between BBIN(Bangladesh-Bhutan-India-Nepal) and IMT(India-Myanmar-Thailand) project /4 pic.twitter.com/dH7ZdTHauK— Nitin Gadkari (@nitin_gadkari) July 12, 2017
The Asian Development Bank (ADB) will provide 50% of the funds required for the project as loan assistance under the South Asian Sub-Regional Economic Cooperation (SASEC) Road Connectivity Investment Program. The program aims at upgradation of road infrastructure in Bangladesh, Bhutan, Nepal and India. The project corridor is also a part of the Asian Highway No. 01 (AH01) and acts as India's Gateway to the East.
"ADB will give 50 percent of the project cost as roughly Rs 1,000 crore will be given by ADB and the rest will be given by the Indian government," Gadkari added. Besides socio-economic development, the project will lead to a reduction in average travel time along the project road by nearly 40%.
The India-Myanmar-Thailand project is also claimed as the rival to China's One Belt, One Road project. The 1360-kilometer-long project was kicked off in 2005 with an ambition of boosting trade, business, health & tourism among them. Last year, the government had made a claim that project would be completed by 2020 but at the current speed and lack of clarity over funding, it is hard to believe that once again completion schedule will not be extended.