India, Myanmar working on $500 million waterway project

Monday, 22 March 2004, 08:00 Hrs
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NEW DELHI: India and Myanmar have begun preliminary work on a $500 million waterway project along the Kaladan river that will expand access to India's remote but resource-rich northeastern states.

New Delhi and Yangon are conducting feasibility studies on building a transport corridor through Myanmar using the Kaladan that runs through Mizoram and Myanmar before joining the Bay of Bengal, Mizoram Governor A.R. Kohli said here Friday.

"Once the right waterway and road links are established, commodities and goods will have economically viable passage from Indian ports on the east coast to Akyab and thereafter through Mizoram and other states of the northeast," Kohli told a meeting organised by the Confederation of Indian Industry on the sidelines of the ongoing North East Expo 2004.

The project envisages upgradation of port facilities at Akyab, about 250 km from the border between Mizoram and Myanmar and where the Kaladan flows into the Bay of Bengal.

Kohli said goods from Kolkata and other Indian ports could be transported via Akyab to reach Mizoram and other northeastern states once India improves the Kaladan waterway and builds a modern road.

"There are also plans to construct a natural gas pipeline along the Kaladan," he said.

The Kaladan project could emerge as a showpiece of the rapidly expanding relations between New Delhi and Yangon, Kohli noted.

R. Jagdeeshan, joint secretary in the Industrial Policy and Promotion Department, noted it was important to use border trade to expand markets in the northeastern states, which border Bangladesh, Myanmar and China.

Source: IANS
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