To increase inter-regional trade and ease passenger and cargo movement, the Government of India recently approved a $1 billion project to construct and upgrade nearly 558 km of roads. It will provide connectivity to Bangladesh, Nepal and Bhutan.
The Ministry of Finance has given its nod to the project, and the Asian Development Bank (ADB) will be funding around 50 percent of it. For now, the Indian side will include roads in Manipur and West Bengal.
Three roads have been selected for an upgrade in West Bengal, all of which will be undertaken by the state’s Public Works Department:
- $15 million has been sanctioned to upgrade a 122 km corridor connecting Siliguri-Mirik-Darjeeling.
- $130 million has been sanctioned for widening of 60 km of National Highway 35 connecting Kolkata with Bangaon on the border with Bangladesh.
- A $250 million project to construct a new road connecting Kolkata’s Diamond Harbour will also be built.
In Manipur, the National Highways & Infrastructure Development Corporation will undertake two corridors:
- $230 million will be spent on upgrading 115 km of roads along the Ukhrul-Tolloi-Tadubi stretch.
- A split four-lane highway from Kohima to Imphal along National Highway 39 at a cost of $280 million.
Apart from this billion-dollar project, a 100 km long road will also come up along the Imphal-Moreh corridor.
This development follows a landmark agreement signed by the four nations, namely India, Bangladesh, Bhutan and Nepal, in 2015 to promote easy movement between their respective territories to aid in trade and tourism.