In a move that will further boost Northeast's road connectivity with south and southeast Asia, the Union Cabinet on Wednesday approved upgradation of a 65-km-long stretch of a National Highway in Manipur that connects state capital Imphal with the Myanmar border. The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi has given its approval for upgradation and widening of 65 km of Imphal-Moreh Section of NH-39 in Manipur at a cost of Rs. 1630.29 crore, an official statement said today.
Road Transport and Highways Minister Nitin Gadkari told reporters here that NH-39 from Imphal to Moreh near the Myanmar border would reduce travel time from three-and-a-half hours to one hour and 45 minutes.
Under the upgradation and widening programme of the highway, the NH-39 will be widened to 4 lane between Lilong village and Wanginj village, while the stretch between Wanginj village to Khongkhang will be upgraded to 2 lane with paved shoulder.
The project is being developed with Asian Development Bank's loan assistance under the South Asian Sub-Regional Economic Cooperation (SASEC) Road Connectivity Investment Program. The ADB's SASEC project aims at upgradation of road infrastructure in Bangladesh, Bhutan, Nepal and India in order to improve the regional connectivity among these countries.
The project corridor is also a part of the Asian Highway No. 01 (AH01) and acts as India's Gateway to the East, the statement said.
Gadkari said the project is of international importance as it would make it possible to travel from India to Myanmar and even Bangkok by road.
The Imphal-Moreh Highway would not only boost international trade and business, but would also be important from security point of view, he said. "It is also crucial for socio-economic development in the northeast region which currently has poor road network."
He said the project would create employment opportunities in Manipur and is part of the Asian Highway project.
Gadkari said the northeast region has been a priority for the BJP government which has already started road infrastructure projects worth Rs 50,000 crore in the region.
"Our target is to have projects worth Rs 2 lakh crore by the time we complete our five years," the minister said.