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Kaladan road project behind schedule

Aizawl, Oct 20 - The Kaladan multi modal transit transport road project is unlikely to be completed within the timeframe, state PWD officials engaged in the project said.“The road project is scheduled to be completed in 2018. However, the project is already behind schedule due to several factors, including compensation claims,” the officials said.

Due to compensation claims, land owners have put a halt on works on a stretch of one kilometre, the officials said. Besides, at least 29 families in Zochachhuah village, near the Myanmar, have put up objection to dismantling their houses which the road is to pass through.

Heavy monsoon is another factor that has slowed down works.

“Even though the contractors continued their works despite the rains, they could not move fast,” they said.

The road project involves construction of two-lane highway to connect Mizoram’s Lawngtlai town with Setpyitpyin (Kaletwa) in Myanmar along the Kaladan river. The length of the road from Lawngtlai to Zochachhuah village on the Myanmar border point is 95 kilometres. Executed by two companies RDS Ltd and ARSS, 85.38 kilometres have been constructed, of which 44.50 kms have been blacktopped.

The contractors said the distance could be reduced by about five kilometres if it is diverted through shorter routes at some portions, but that would involve more compensation.

A compensation row had arisen when fresh claims cropped up, after all the claims which had been proven to be authentic had been cleared.

According to PWD officials, there were over 700 fresh claims for land compensation, in addition to the 160 claims which had already been paid. About Rs 6.88 crore had been paid to 166 landowners whose land passes were verified to be authentic.

According to the district collector of Lawngtlai, the road project affects 42.84 hectares of private-owned gardens, 15.24 hectares of forest land and 181.50 hectares of degraded jhum lands.

While compensation has been disbursed for the 42.84 hectares of private land, compensation for the jhum fallows is yet to be assessed. According to an official, the problems arose as the degraded jhum lands were reported as forest land to the Ministry of Forest and Environment.

The Kaladan Multi-Modal Transit Transport Project (KMMTT), for which India and Myanmar signed an agreement in 2008, also includes dredging and modernising the Sittwe port, and dredging sections of the Kaladan river for large ship access. A part of India’s Look East Policy, the project aims to further increase the Indo-Myanmar economic ties.
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