Construction of this road has not been completed by the BRO. For representation, please see the file image. Photo Credit: REUTERS
The Mizoram government informed the Centre that a planned strategic road project to counter a Chinese-funded double-lane road in Myanmar which runs parallel with the State is at risk of being cancelled due to lack of funds.
“The Border Roads Organisation (BRO), which was awarded the contract, has not completed construction of even one meter of the road within the last 26 months. Following this Mizoram Chief Minister Zoramthanga wrote to the Centre to request that the project be transferred to the State Public Works Department.
K. Vanlalvena (a Rajya Sabha member hailing from Mizoram) wrote to Defence Secretary Giridhar Aramane on January 10 that the Ministry of Development of North Eastern Region was planning to withdraw the approval for the project because the deadline for work completion had expired.
“Even though 26 months have passed since the work was sanctioned by the BRO, the BRO still has not completed construction of even one metre of the said road, and since the deadline for completion has expired, the Ministry of DoNER plans to withdraw this sanction,” Mr. Vanlalvena stated.
Through the North Eastern Council (NEC), the Ministry of DoNER had approved Rs66 crore for construction of Sangau-Saisih Chhuah, a double-lane border road connecting Myanmar and Mizoram. The contract was awarded by the DoNER to the BRO over two years ago.
“It is worth mentioning that the Myanmar government had completed the construction of a double-lane road from the capital of Chin state Hakha to the Mizoram border at Saisih Chhuah, three years ago. This was with financial sanction from the Government of China,” said the letter to Defence Secretary.
BRO officials were cited in the letter for their lapse. The letter requested disciplinary action because “this border road is both very important for Mizoram tribal people, but also vital for national security.”
The Hindu was informed by a Rajya Sabha member that Myanmar had built the road with help from the Chinese government. All kinds of vehicles could now reach the Mizoram border.
“The Mizoram government constructed a small road that is one lane long, non-metal, and not all-weather. “The Chief Minister has asked the Centre to transfer the project of the strategic highway to the State PWD, if the BRO cannot complete it,” Mr. Vanlalvena stated.
The BRO did not respond to the claims of the Mizoram MP.