Chidambaram led panel slams MEA over delay in operationalisation of strategically important Kaladan project

Taking note of the delay in the operationalisation of the Kaladan Multimodal Transit Transport (KMTT) project, a parliamentary committee has recently slammed the Ministry of External Affairs for the delay and asked it to complete the project at the earliest.

“The Committee is aware that this project was expected to be operationalised by December, 2016. However, till date, no component of the project has been completely operationalised and the road component has been languishing for a long time. This indicates a failure of monitoring and supervision,” said the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Home Affairs on Demands for Grants (2018-19) of the Ministry for Development of North Eastern Region in a report presented to the Rajya Sabha on 4 April.

The Committee, headed by senior Congress leader P. Chidambaram, underscored that this project, piloted and funded by MEA, is an integral part of the Act East Policy of India and is of strategic importance.

The Committee recommended the Ministry to take ownership and responsibility for the project and that all the components of the Kaladan project should be completed at the earliest to resolve the connectivity woes of the North Eastern Region.

Signed in 2008, the Kaladan project is the first major Indian-funded project in Myanmar.

In accordance with the Act East Policy of the Government, the project was conceptualized by the MEA to provide an alternative connectivity to Mizoram with Haldia/Kolkata ports through the Kaladan River in Myanmar. The project envisages road transport from Mizoram to Paletwa (Myanmar), thereafter from Paletwa to Sittwe (Myanmar) by Inland Waterways and from Sittwe to Haldia/other Indian Ports by maritime shipping.

The Union Cabinet approved the project at a cost of Rs. 535.91 crores in its meeting held in March 2008, which was later revised to Rs.2904.04 crores.

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