Sinlung /
22 August 2013

Controversy Raised Over Kaladan Project

Aizawl, Aug 22 : A top diplomat courted controversy here by declaring that the flagship of India’s Look East Policy – the Kaladan Multi-Modal Transport Project (KMMTP) currently being implemented in Mizoram does not have the required Union Cabinet sanction.

This is surprising as the Mizoram PWD is in the midst of implementing the 171 km road project from the National Highway 54 to Zochachua on the Mizoram-Mynamar border where the land route from Paletwa, Myanmar from the Sitwee port is to join it.

“I am in charge of the KMMTP project and I know that it does not have Cabinet sanction,” Special Secretary, Union Ministry of External Affairs, said when asked about the project after his key note address at a conference on foreign policy here on Monday.

When asked to clarify his remarks dismissing people’s concerns about the environmental and social impact of KMMTP on tribes living in these areas terming them ‘mere propaganda’, he said that misconceptions were being spread around about the project.

But when it was pointed out that the KMMTP road project in Lawngtlai district had been halted by the Union Ministry of Environment & Forests as it did not have the required forest clearance from that Ministry, his reply was, “there is no KMMTP project in Mizoram and if there is we are not involved in it.”

Raghavan’s stand has put the Mizoram Government in a quandary leading the Chief Minister Lalthanhawla to claim State right to dig roads wherever it sees fit. Besides, the CM pointed out that the KMMTP is part of India’s Look East Policy.

Under this, the Ministry for Development of North East Region (DoNER) has sanctioned 99.3 kms of new road to link up with the activities on the Myanmar side under KMMTP under the Special Accelerated Road Development Programme for North East (SARDP-NE). It is being implemented by the State PWD.

The work is being implemented by two companies which has already completed formation-cutting in about 50 kms of the road in Lawngtlai district.

The work has now stopped pending grant of forest clearance since late last month as about 16 hectares of forest land and 181 hectares of jhumlands will be affected.


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