UP-Thailand highway may miss 2016 deadline

Written by Timsy Jaipuria | Huma Siddiqui | New Delhi | Updated: Sep 26 2014, 07:55am hrs
The ambitious trilateral highway connecting UP to Thailand, is expected to miss its 2016 deadline due to delays at the end of Myanmar. According to sources, Myanmar has not been able to allocate the land for the construction of the stretch crossing the country.

Meanwhile, India is fastracking work at its end by involving the private sector. Since feasibility is the first stage in the process, the government has roped in Egis India Consulting Engineers Ltd to prepare the feasibility report for the upgradation, design, cost estimation etc for the highway in India, sources said.

A major stretch of the highway is to develop a 3,200-km linking highway from India to Myanmar and Thailand. This starts from the Indo-Myanmar border at Moreh in Manipur and passes through Tamu across the border in Myanmar to reach Mae Sot in Thailand after crossing various villages in Myanmar.

Myanmar has a major land which is covered by thick and dense forest. They are unable to provide environment clearance and do not want to cut the forest cover. But talks are on since there is an international commitment in place, sources said.

For the development for the stretch India has already given Myanmar $500 million in loan, a part of which will be used to fund the project.

The route initially suggested for the proposed Trilateral Highway was Moreh (India)- Tamu- Kalewa-Chaungma- Yinmabin- Pale- Kyadet- Lingadaw- Pakokku- Bagan- Kyaukpadaung- Meiktila bypass- Taungoo- Oktwin- Payagyi- Theinzayat- Thaton- Hpaan Kawareik- Myawaddy- Mae Sot (Thailand). This route is now to pass through Mandalay (Tamu-Kalewa-Yargyi-Chaungma-Monywa-Mandalay) rather than Bagan, given that the Mandalay-Yangon section has already been constructed.

Besides, India is fastacking the work at its end. Senior government officials said that they are roping in the private sector for the project. The ministry of external Affairs (MEA) has entrusted Egis India Consulting Engineers to prepare a feasibility report for the upgradation of the road section, and to propose suitable designs, technical schedules, cost estimates of the project and prepare bid documents. Subsequently, MEA intends to call a tender to select the agency for implementation of the construction, the official confirmed. Once operational, the project would further enhance connectivity and open enormous business opportunities for the region.