A key transit project on the India-Myanmar border, Kaladan Multimodal Transit Transport, has been delayed due to bankruptcy and ongoing insolvency proceedings against one of the contractors before the National Company Law Tribunal, the Union home ministry informed a parliamentary panel. The project is considered crucial for improving connectivity.
In its reply to the standing committee on home affairs, the ministry said, “The execution of the KMTT project, especially the road component, has faced many challenges due to security problems, ongoing insurgency and remoteness of the site.” The report was tabled in Parliament on March 15.
The ministry further said, “Construction of a road from Paletwa in Chin State to Zorinpui in Mizoram has been impeded by the precarious security situation in the region. The initial plan of the project was to develop a 225 km long waterway from Sittwe Port till Kaletwa (transhipment point) and a road component of 62 km from Kaletwa up to Zorinpui in Mizoram at the Indo-Myanmar border.”
The plan was to be changed due to the actual geographical conditions on the site to 158 km of waterways and 109 km of the surface route after shifting the transhipment point on the Kaladan River from Kaletwato Paletwa and the specifications of the road component were also changed from intermediate to double lane as well, according to the home ministry.
Moreover, one of the joint venture partners of the appointed contractor (Ms C&C constructions) has gone bankrupt and an insolvency proceeding was initiated in the NCLT in March 2019 due to the acute financial crisis of the contractor, said the report. The KMTT project, conceptualised by the MEA, has two components — waterways and roadways.
According to the report, the waterways component of KMTT is almost complete and a port operator has been appointed jointly by the Centre and Myanmar. “Efforts are being made to operationalize the port and IWT (Inland Waterways Transport) terminals. A project oversight committee has been constituted with members from the MEA, IWAI and Kolkata Port Trust to oversee the day-to-day activities involved in the early operationalization of Sittwe Port,” said the report.