Category Archives: Infrastructure

Japan to Aid North-East India’s Infrastructural Interests

PM Modi and Mr Shinzo Abe
Prime Minister of Japan and India – Mr. Shinzo Abe and Mr. Narendra Modi respectively

Japanese involvement in India’s keystone infrastructural projects has significantly contributed in supplementing India’s growth stories. Its efforts and interest remain relentless and persistent as it embarks upon developing and boosting infrastructural prospects in the North – East of India while leveraging on the North-eastern pool of resources and its proximity to the South-East Asian countries.

With India being weighed as the gateway to the South East region, and also actively interested in pursuing its Act East policy, Japan’s interest in providing its technical know-how, expertise and experience in the realm of connectivity based infrastructure: roads, railways, electricity, disaster management, forest resource management and so on, is loud and clear.

Against this backdrop, the Coordination Forum for Development of North – East has been set up by India and Japan to expedite infrastructural development in the North Eastern part of India, after the Ministry of Development of NorthEastern Region (DONER) recognizes the priority areas that require immediate attention and operations.

The India – Japan Cooperation Forum for Development of NorthEast included officials from external affairs, finance, road transport, power as important participants, along with Japan Embassy’s ambassador, Mr. Kenji Hiramatsu and DONER Minister, Mr. Jitendra Singh, who inaugurated the forum.

The relationship between Japan and India has strategically gained significance and both the countries look forward to an engaging people-to-people and cultural exchange platform to seek, supplement and strengthen developmental opportunities while maintaining and building historic relations.

As per the International Community, Japan and India have the potential to be mutually-giving partners, with the surfeit of North-Eastern manpower available to boost Japan’s economy and Japan’s intrinsic and engaging interest in developing the NorthEastern part of India.

North-East’s Largest ISBT Ready to be Operational

Arunachal Pradesh

Another milestone has been clocked in the North-Eastern region of India: development of largest and most comprehensive Inter-State Bus Terminal (ISBT) in the state of Arunachal Pradesh. Its operations are slated to begin by mid-August post its official inauguration by the Chief Minister of Arunachal Pradesh Mr. Pema Khandu.

Spaciously structured to deliver multiple amenities, the ISBT in the Lekhi village, Naharlagun has been constructed by the Department of Urban Development (UD) at a cost of Rs.2039 lakhs.

Translating this project into a holistic model of convenience and easy accessibility, this space is laden with special facilities such as private areas for breastfeeding mothers, special attention has also been paid to differently-abled people. Apart from this, segmented sections catering to taxis, private and government bus services have also been taken care of in an organized manner, along with neatly spaced out areas allotted for the parking of inter and intercity vehicles.

With the area spread of 86460 square feet, this inter-state bus terminal is being regarded as the largest ISBT in the Rainbow States of India.

Assistant Urban Programme Officer Mr. Yumlam Alam said,” We have constructed 5 rooms fitted with modern facilities which will function as tourist lodge. Besides, a dormitory room along with the office for tourist information officer has been constructed. Also, there will be restaurants, food courts, two ATM counters, newspaper/magazine shops, separate toilet facilities for ladies and gentlemen.”

The inauguration of ISBT would be a retreat from congested traffic ailments and aid in sculpting efficient transport services in the state of Arunachal Pradesh.

Myanmar could Lead Maritime Trade of Asia

Myanmar could Lead Maritime Trade of Asia

Myanmar has launched itself on the global podium, carving an aggressive and assertive entrepreneurial spirit. Its resoluteness to connect and attract foreign investment prospects to revive its strained economic model is a quite palpable post its political transition.

The Port and the Shipping Industry is being rendered as the immediate and the most significant means to integrate Myanmar with the global economy, leveraging its strategic geographical placement in between the most populous and the second most populous country in the world; India and China.

Mr. Kyaw Myo, Deputy Minister Transport and Communications, remarked at the 15th ASEAN Ports and Shipping Conference 2017, “The development of ports and shipping industry would be a driving force for Myanmar’s integration into the global economy. Myanmar’s transport infrastructure had reached the low end of the Asian benchmark due to our poorly targeted investment for many years. Now, it is time to improve our transport infrastructure effectively and systematically with regional and international cooperation.”

The boom in the transport infrastructure, its revision and the revamping of guidelines are imperative primary moves to bring about improved connectivity – intra and inter-region, which would facilitate domestic growth, and advance integrative international possibilities. Apart from strengthening and developing infrastructure, it’s enabling and empowering prospects of job creation, easier access to regions, promotion of economic trade and prosperous growth potential, the facelift of transport framework has been rendered as an important segment in accelerating Myanmar’s economy.

In the recently conducted –15th ASEAN Ports and Shipping Conference 2017, discussions pertaining to the essential role played by maritime trade to revitalize Myanmar’s economy permeated the entire conference session. The need for an efficient and well-planned connectivity mapping the regions internally is essential for foreign companies to reach effortlessly and seek new market gains and collaborations. This is being embraced as the cornerstone development in affirming Myanmar as the new and captivating hub of Southeast Asia trade.

Carving out a mutually beneficial relationship with domestic and foreign ports, while engaging in port development activities, greater stress has also been laid on peripheral facets such as security challenges, environmental impact and navigation accessibility.

The Managing Director of Myanmar Port Authority – Mr. Ni Aung exclaimed, “As a member state, we participate in ASEAN initiatives for the acceleration of economic growth, social progress and cultural development in the region through joint endeavors to strengthen the foundation for a prosperous and peaceful community by improving all aspects of transportation, specifically port development.”

The Yangon port, being the chief port of seaborne trade has been controlling 95% of the maritime export and import exchanges. Moreover, with nine ports handling seaborne and coastal trade, and with the construction of advanced terminals and multiple facilities in the areas of Yangon and Thilawa, the maritime cargo traffic has effectively enhanced.

Endowed with the capacity to accommodate as many as 36 vessels at the same time, the Yangon ports are being significantly harnessed to trade directly with 10 of the major trading economies like Malaysia, Iran, India, Singapore, China, Sri Lanka, Indonesia, Vietnam, Bangladesh and Thailand.

“Maritime transportation has been able to serve more than 85% of the nation’s trade,” said Mr. Myo Nyein Aye, deputy manager of MPA.

This indeed has been the gamechanger in boosting Myanmar’s economic landscape, fabricating and fueling an investment-friendly environment in building and developing ports. Relentless involvement of the private sector companies and aid from international finance institutions are deemed to further the prospects. As part of the current consultations on driving commerce in the country, employment of six new inland water port terminals has been ambitiously considered, with dependence on Myanmar’s new Investment Law for funds. The new ports include four on the Ayeyarwady River and two on the Chindwin River.

These ports will ensure rapid connectivity to more and bigger markets, and provide door to door system facility while experiencing reduced transportation costs and enlarged shipping capacity. In other words, these ports have been and will be the potential economy-transformers for Myanmar, generating jobs, accentuating regional development with improvement in living standards and bridging the gaps between the haves and have-nots.

Steering its course to growth, development and integration with the global economy, Myanmar’s sea and river ports have an absolute advantage of establishing Myanmar as the hub of trade in Asia.

UK Interested in Boosting Myanmar’s Transport Infrastructure

Mr. Andrew McNaughton - UK's Prime Minister
Mr. Andrew McNaughton – UK Prime Minister’s Business Ambassador for Infrastructure

Myanmar has transitioned into a land buzzing with business opportunities, with economic avenues expanding and exhorting the attention of global companies. The latest entrant to revise and revamp the infrastructural paradigm of Myanmar is the United Kingdom. The UK has expressed interest in supporting the large-scale infrastructural requirements of Myanmar, specifically its transportation unit; railway networks, airports and rapid transit system.

This welcoming news was brought to light after UK‘s Prime Minister‘s Business Ambassador for Infrastructure – Mr. Andrew McNaughton, visited Myanmar to explore opportunities at the infrastructural front for UK’s Department of International Trade (DIT) and UK companies.

According to Mr. McNaughton “The immediate opportunity for the UK to provide support would be in transport and in particular, mass transportation rail projects and the airport development program.”

Leveraging its strength, experience, expertise and Myanmar’s immediate need for infrastructural investments, UK business companies are enthusiastic about effectuating their economic and commercial interests, at the same time, acknowledging the potential urbanization process and infrastructural development that Myanmar will significantly be impacted with.

Myanmar is looking forward to capitalizing on sources to generate financial assistance to meet its infrastructural needs. For this purpose, a robust logistics sector with a sound legal and regulatory framework is an essential and a necessary requirement to be able to build internationally aligned market structures and attract capital investments thereof.

On this, Mr. McNaughton remarked, “The establishment of a market structure requires significant development of regulations and legal structures to be able to establish an environment to contract with international organizations. UK legal, financial and support services companies have extensive experience of working with governments around the world to establish such structures.”

He also lauded British technical and technological know-how which could assist preciously in Myanmar’s railway and airport projects.

In railways, he measured and estimated upgradation of long, intercity lines connecting the major cities of Yangon, Mandalay and Nay Pyi Taw, and revamping the Yangon mass rapid transit. This arrangement aims to decongest the traffic and also boost the growth of the city to 10 million by 2040. The plans also involve the introduction of two new metro lines and development of two airports namely: Mandalay International Airport and the new Hanthawaddy International Airport in Yangon. The mid-term objective is to grow cross border international trade as well as support regional airport program.

Thus, infrastructural scope in Myanmar is colossal and plays a planetary role in the urbanization process and in boosting the economy of Myanmar. As per business experts, refinement of transportation infrastructure is the fundamental requisite in attracting inward investments, retention of human capital and in escalating trade possibilities, leading to sustainable prospects and future-oriented growth.

Remarking upon ‘more opportunities and a few challenges’ in the MyanmarUK potential alliance, Mr. McNaughton exclaimed, “As an outcome of the Brexit process, the UK government and individual businesses are seeking to establish long term relationships beyond the European Community. This is being done without having to consider the views of 26 other member states. This creates agility and a momentum that can only be an advantage to the region.”

PM Modi Visits Myanmar: A Gateway to Southeast Asia

Suu Kyi & PM Narendra Modi

The recent visit by the Indian Prime Minister Mr. Narendra Modi to Myanmar underlined Modi’s ‘Act East’ policy and highlighted the significance that India attaches to fostering good relations with Myanmar. With Myanmar set to walk on the path of development and liberalisation, on the back of the first democratically elected government in 2016, PM Modi’s first official bilateral visit sought to place India as the leading partner of Myanmar and give a much-needed impetus to the relations between
the two countries.

India and Myanmar have long shared historical, ethnic, cultural and religious ties. The geographical proximity (India shares a long land border of over 1600 km and a maritime boundary in the Bay of Bengal) has helped develop cordial relations and people-to-people contact. Ever since the two countries signed a Treaty of Friendship in 1951, there has been a steady rise in the level of engagement and cooperation between them, especially in areas of infrastructure development, trade, security, energy, health, transportation and culture, to name a few.

India realises the importance of Myanmar, not only as a gateway to South-East Asia but as a crucial partner in the fight to end insurgency in India’s north-east. Myanmar is also a crucial member of the ASEAN bloc and it is in India’s interest to have a strong and prosperous Myanmar. Myanmar, too, recognises the potential of this relationship with India and received the Indian Prime Minister with great gusto. The bilateral meeting, though marked by serious hurdles in the form of the Rohingya crisis, turned out to be mutually beneficial, as eight Memorandum of Understanding (MoUs) and three agreements were signed by the two sides, covering important areas of security, infrastructure health, energy, capacity building and culture.

Map depicting India-Myanmar-Thailand Highway
Map depicting India-Myanmar-Thailand Highway

India realises the importance of Myanmar, not only as a gateway to South-East Asia but as a crucial partner in the fight to end insurgency in India’s north-east. Myanmar is also a crucial member of the ASEAN bloc and it is in India’s interest to have a strong and prosperous Myanmar. Myanmar, too, recognises the potential of this relationship with India and received the Indian Prime Minister with great gusto. The bilateral meeting, though marked by serious hurdles in the form of the Rohingya crisis, turned out to be mutually beneficial, as eight Memorandum of Understanding (MoUs) and three agreements were signed by the two sides, covering important areas of security, infrastructure health, energy, capacity building and culture.

Infrastructure

PM Modi reiterated India’s commitment to support Myanmar in building infrastructure and developing human resources capacity. Some of the projects, which directly involve India are:

  • The Trilateral Highway (India, Myanmar and Thailand), which will link India to the ASEAN bloc
  • The Kaladan Multi-modal and Transport and Transit Project, which aims to link Kolkata to Sittwe in Myanmar and from Myanmar’s Kaladan river to India’s north-east
  • Development of Industrial Training Centres at Monywa and Thaton, following the successful completion of centres at Pakokku and Myingyan
  • Myanmar is a key component of India’s strategy to bridge South and South-East Asia through Bimstec, the Bay of Bengal Inititative for Multi-Sectoral Technical and Economic Cooperation
  • Upgradation of Yagyi-Kalewa road for Rs 177 crore
  • Upgradation of the Women’s Police Training Centre at Yamethin
  • Upgradation of Yangon Childrens’ Hospital and Sittwe General Hospital
  • Construction of Monywa General Hospital
  • Operationalizing the Advanced Centre for Agricultural Research and Education set up at the Yezin Agricultural University
    and the Rice Bio Park set up at the Department of Agricultural Research
  • Commitment to construct a new hospital in Nay Pyi Taw
Kaladan Multimodel Project
Kaladan Multimodel Project

Along with these, several other projects have been agreed upon by both the countries in IT, health, entrepreneurship, language training and small border area development projects in Chin and Naga areas of Myanmar. India has also extended $750 million in soft lines of credit for other infrastructure projects.

Investment

India’s trade with Myanmar grew by 6 per cent from US $2.05 billion in 2015-16 to US $2.18 billion in 2016-17. Both countries sought to work closely with each other to realise the tremendous potential, especially given the favourable environment for investment offered by the new democratically elected regime in Myanmar.

In their joint statement, the two countries acknowledged the importance of pulses in the bilateral trade basket. India imports around a million tonnes of pulses, $1 billion in value, from Myanmar. It is vital to Myanmar’s farmers, therefore Myanmar requested India to lift all restrictions imposed on imports from Myanmar. Myanmar has also welcomed India’s participation in its energy sector and invited Indian companies to take part in tenders for petrochemicals and petroleum products, marketing infrastructure and setting up of LPG terminals. The agreement between Numaligarh Refinery of India and Parami Energy Group of Myanmar on supply of diesel to Myanmar across the land border will give people of north Myanmar cheaper and more reliable access to petroleum products. In the energy sector too, India offered its technical and project specific assistance, for instance, it offered to conduct a solar radiation resource assessment in Myanmar, it shared its experiences in power trade and discussed ways to cooperate in the field of energy efficiency between the two countries.

India’s increasing investments in Myanmar also assume importance, in the light of Chinese interest in Myanmar. China has, in recent times, increased its presence in Myanmar and is even pushing for a special economic zone at KyaukPhyu among other projects.

Cultural Engagement

Given the close cultural and religious ties the people of the two countries share, culture is bound to be an important thrust area, as was highlighted in the visit of PM Modi. The two sides signed the Cultural Exchange Programme (CEP) for the period 2017-20 and expressed confidence that this would promote cultural exchanges between Myanmar and the North-Eastern states of India. PM Modi also visited Bagan, where the Archaeological Survey of India has restored the Ananda Temple and is involved in the restoration and conservation of 92 pagodas and structures damaged by the 2016 earthquake.

Religion forms a big part of the cultural heritage of the two countries. Bodh Gaya in India remains a place of pilgrimage for the people of Myanmar. Myanmar welcomed India’s efforts in preserving the stone inscriptions and temples of King Mindon and King Bagyidaw of Myanmar in Bodh Gaya.

Another gesture that was praised and welcomed by both the Government and the people of Myanmar, was India’s decision to grant special pardon to 40 Myanmar nationals undergoing imprisonment for various crimes in India.

Former Prime Minister of India, Dr. Manmohan Singh, on his visit to Myanmar in 2012, observed that “India and Myanmar are natural partners, linked by geography and history.” With PM Modi’s emphasis on developing relations with India’s neighbours, both countries are likely to work in unison to ensure enhanced people to people contact and a healthy environment for development.

Security

The 1643 km long land border that the two countries share and the belligerent posturing by China necessitates close cooperation between India and Myanmar, vis-à-vis security and defence. This formed an important facet of the discussions held among the leaders of the two sides. Terrorism and extremist-inspired violence remain a cause of concern, to counter which, both countries have affirmed their intent to work together. The two sides condemned terrorist attacks on Amarnath Yatra and the Rakhine State, and jointly called for the quick adoption of a Comprehensive Convention on International Terrorism by the UN General Assembly.

Mr. Modi’s government recently inked a US $37.9 million-worth lightweight torpedo with Myanmar. India has also begun supplying arms and communication equipment to the Armed Forces of Myanmar, to secure the sensitive border. The two sides also signed an MoU to strengthen maritime security cooperation, even in non-traditional security domains, such as “humanitarian assistance and disaster relief, which are critical for safeguarding the Bay of Bengal and the Indian Ocean.”

Indian army is engaged in providing training to the Myanmar army to prepare them for UN peace keeping duties, a step considered essential to redeem their global image.

Myanmar, on its part, reaffirmed “its respect of the sovereignty and territorial integrity of India” and upheld the policy of “not allowing any insurgent group to utilise Myanmar’s soil to undertake hostile acts against the Indian Government.”

The Rohingya Crisis

Even as India and Myanmar look to scale up their engagement, the two countries need to quickly tackle the crisis of Rohingya Muslims before it escalates into a dangerous catastrophe. PM Modi expressed his concern over the extremist violence in Rakhine and offered to fast track development projects in the troubles province of Rakhine.

At a time when State Counsellor Aung San Suu Kyi has come under pressure over the Rohingya crisis, PM Modi’s strong stand on the issue and support of the Myanmar government, resonated well with Myanmar. PM Modi’s government has itself taken a strong stand on the influx of about 40,000 Rohingyas over the years, threatening to deport them, as it views them as a big security threat.

The recent crisis, triggered by coordinated attacks by Rohingya militants on 25-26 August, under a recently formed Arakan Rohingya Salvation Army (now designated as “terrorists”) against government and security outposts in northern Rakhine, left 110 dead, including militants, security personnel and civilians. In response, state security forces launched ‘clearance operations’ to neutralise militants and recapture seized weapons and territory. If reports are to be believed, around 270,000 Rohingyas have fled to Bangladesh, triggering a massive humanitarian crisis in the Subcontinent.

The international community has come down heavily on the Myanmar government, in what they view as ‘ethical cleansing’ and crimes against humanity. Aung San Suu Kyi has defended her handling of the crisis and said that those attacked were Jihadists and that the military action was necessary to ensure security against the extremist elements.

PM Modi reiterated India’s commitment to stand by Myanmar’s efforts to find long-lasting peace and tackling the latest surge of violence.

The transition of Myanmar into a democratic state with a democratically elected government provides an ideal opportunity to India to engage with its neighbour in a mutually beneficial arrangement. It provides fresh impetus to PM Modi’s ‘Act East’ Policy and offers a counter-narrative to China’s increasingly bullish position in the Subcontinent. Myanmar, too, stands to gain immensely through this partnership, based on the spirit of cooperation, trust and rooted in shared historical, cultural, religious and ethnic ties. The visit by PM Modi has only reaffirmed this and it bodes well for the future of India-Myanmar relations.

By Arun Arora

PM Narendra Modi Inaugurates India’s Longest Bridge in Assam

PM Narendra Modi

Commemorating the late Assamese music maestro Mr. Bhupen Hazarika while completing 3 years as the Prime Minister, Mr. Narendra Modi instituted India’s longest bridge connecting Dhola in Arunachal Pradesh from Sadiya in Assam. This infrastructural splendor is a jewel shining bright, remarking the pride of Seven Sister states.

The bridge would ensure quicker road connectivity and accessibility, mitigating the travel time by 4 long hours. Its three lane construction spans through a length of 9.15km over and above the grandeur of Brahamaputra’s tributary river-Lohit. This is a great step assuring productivity in fuel usage, cost efficiency and the possible hydropower projects paving way to economic remunerative gains.

Dr. Bhupen Hazarika
Dr. Bhupen Hazarika, Assam, India

This architectural marvel’s strategic importance was a well – planned and prudent endeavor which commenced in 2011 with the vision to aid the military with facilitate passage to the border areas of China, more smoothly and seamlessly. The structure’s strength to endure heavy military tanks and machinery would serve as a huge asset in the coming times.

Mr. Modi’s interest in uplifting and ameliorating the economic and India’s P.M. Mr. Narendra Modi Dr. Bhupen Hazarika, Assam, India social status of the ‘Seven Rainbow States’ and its citizens can be gauged through his determination to lead this project to its culmination. His efforts involved in integrating the north eastern states to mainstream India deserve appreciation.

Since years, the north eastern states have suffered alienation and non-inclusive treatment from the locals and the officials alike; inviting notions of disunity and disengagement .However, with the inauguration of India’s longest bridge; 30% longer than Mumbai’s Bandra -Worli sea link, Mr. Modi has embarked upon the path of unity in diversity, more aggressively than ever , with the trumpeting of economic and infrastructural resuscitation of the north eastern states which would act as the microcosm to India’s mighty potential to enhance its economic development and GDP growth.

NGT in conflict with Meghalaya Govt. Over Coal Mining

NGT Conflict

Rampant commercial mining with least adherence to healthy environmental impact has led National Green Tribunal (NGT) to probe into the matter and take strict actions, leading to time bound ban on coal mining activities in the state of Meghalaya.

This intervention by NGT is a result of reckless and unchecked transportation of coal extracts taking place on a massive scale, surpassing the limits imposed by the authorities. In its quest to ensure clean and sustainable environment to the citizens of the country, specifically the wellbeing of the laborers and the inhabitants residing around the coal activities laden areas, NGT has promulgated orders to the state to frame a mining policy that substantially caters to the protection of the environment.

However, the government of Meghalaya has challenged the ban on the grounds of Constitutional guidelines wherein the 6th schedule gives Meghalaya the choice to seek exemption from central laws due to its tribal status.

If the ban persists, the commercial gains accruing from these unlawful activities would surely get thwarted and arrested. The web of coal mine owners, politicians and the agents benefitting from the rush of money from these coal mines could disarray their settlement and change their dynamics during the time of election.

Meghalaya’s river Kopili has been severely damaged and has exhausted its biological productive strength owing to coal mining. Acidification of its water has hampered its marine life and rendered it unsuitable for human consumption.

Thus, it is imperative to comprehend the urgency that surrounds the issue and be addressed holistically and expediently. Scientific measures and significance of green life needs to be given precedence over illegal, unethical ways of mining and mindless deforestation.

National Green Tribunal operates through this empowering paradigm of clean and green ways, advocating development in a manner more scientific, sustainable and healthy.

ACCOR Hotels to open 5 new hotels in Myanmar by 2019

Accor Hotels

International hotel chain operator AccorHotels plans to expand its base by opening five new hotels in Myanmar by the year 2019. In order to re-brand an existing hotel apartment into a Mercure in Myanmar, the company has signed a management contract with SC Capital Partners Group. The management contract will make it Accor Hotelspossible to rebrand the seven-story Micasa Hotel Apartments Yangon to Mercure Yangon Kaba Aye by July 2017. The new Mercure is located in close proximity to the famous Shwedagon Golden Pagoda. It offers 143 apartments and 40 deluxe rooms to its customers.

As per company’s Chief Operating Officer (CEO) Mr. Patrick Basset, the company is opening five new properties by the year 2019 as a part of the larger strategy to expand its footprint in Myanmar. A press release issued by AccorHotels stated that presently there are five of its hotels operating in Myanmar. These hotels include, The Lake Garden Nay Pyi Taw, MGallery by Sofitel, Novotel Yangon Max, Novotel Inle Lake Myat Min, and ibis Styles Yangon Stadium.

 

MANIPUR GETS COUNTRY’S LONGEST SAFETY RAIL TUNNEL

MANIPUR GETS COUNTRY'S LONGEST SAFETY RAIL TUNNEL

India’s Union Railway Minister Mr. Suresh Prabhu laid the foundation of the longest safety rail tunnel in the country on the Jiribam-Tupul- Imphal rail project in Manipur on November 10, 2016.The 111-kmlong Jiribam-Tupul-Imphal new broad gauge railway project was taken up in 2008 and was declared a national project. Until now the longest safety tunnel in India is the
PirPanjal tunnel on the Banihal- Qazigund line which is 11.2 km
long.The safety tunnel of Tunnel Number 12 will be 11.55 km long
which will surpass the PirPanjal Tunnel. On this occasion Mr. Prabhu
also laid the foundation of a station building at Tupul and announced
commencement of work on the second portal of Tunnel Number 12.
The event was held on the parade ground of 1 Manipur Rifles located in Imphal city.

While speaking on the occasion, Mr. Prabhu stressed upon the
commitment of Central Government to provide rail connectivity to the North East. He further stated that North East India has great potential for tourism and the Government of India is making various provisions to improve the infrastructure in the region. Increase in tourism will provide various job opportunities to the people living in the region. The Governor of Manipur, Ms. Najma Heptulla was also present on the occasion and said that the Jiribam – Tupul – Imphal railway project is extremely important as it will provide an alternative means of transport in Manipur state which has a very difficult terrain. She believes that the ease of connectivity provided by the completion of this project will naturally result in the
improvement in the economic state as well. A 12.5-km section from
Jiribam to Dholakhal has already been completed and commissioned
for freight trains in March 2016.

RAILWAY MINISTER MR. SURESH PRABHU STATES RAIL NETWORK WILL MAKE NORTHEAST INDIA A ‘DESTINATION’

RAILWAY MINISTER MR. SURESH PRABHU STATES RAIL NETWORK WILL MAKE NORTHEAST INDIA A DESTINATION

While speaking in Mizoram on November 11, 2016 India’s Railway
Minister Mr. Suresh Prabhakar Prabhu stated that the proper
development of railway network in the region will make North East
India a major “destination” instead of being just a transit point as it is
at the moment. This was said during an event held to celebrate the
laying of the foundation stone of the railway station building at Sairang which is located 20 km north of Mizoram’s Capital Aizawl. He said that North East is a resource rich region and railways will play a great part in the proper utilization of these resources that will lead to a lot of development. Mr. Prabhu further stated that railways will not only aid in economic development but it will also act as a catalyst to bring a lot of positive societal change.

A well connected railway network will bring the North Eastern region closer to the rest of India. This will eradicate all the problems related to both tapping of the resources in the region as well as supply of the needed goods. Bamboo is an abundant resource in Mizoram and Mr. Prabhu said that Indian Railways is planning to use more bamboo products made in the state and the North East region as a whole in the Indian railway system in order to give a boost to the potential industry. He also said that all the future railway stations in the country would from now on be constructed by including the local ethos in the design. Mizoram’s Minister of State for Railways Mr. Rajen Gohain was also present at the event and he said
that the new broad gauge line from Bairabi to Sairang was a part of the Indian Railway’s vision to connect all the capitals of North Eastern states through broad gauge line by 2020.