The Kaladan project connects Sittwe Port in Myanmar to the India-Myanmar border.
The project was jointly initiated by India and Myanmar to create a multi-modal platform for cargo shipments from the eastern ports to Myanmar and to the North-eastern parts of the country through Myanmar.
- The project includes a waterway component of 158 km on Kaladan river from Sittwe to Paletwa in Myanmar and a road component of 109 km from Paletwa to Zorinpui along the India-Myanmar border in Mizoram.
- The present distance between Kolkata to Mizoram is approx. 1850 km with a travel time of about 7 to 8 days. During rainy days, roads are often blocked because of landslides and other issues, which leaves a part of North-East completely disconnected. Due to the KMMT project, the distance will reduce to about 930 km and also reduce travel time by 2 to 3 days
Sittwe is the capital of Rakhine State in south-western Myanmar. It is located at the mouth of the Kaladan river, which flows into Mizoram in north-eastern India.
Significance of Kaladan Project:
•It is expected to open up sea routes and promote economic development in the North-eastern states, and also add value to the economic, commercial and strategic ties between India and Myanmar.
•This project will reduce distance from Kolkata to Sittwe by approximately 1328 km and will reduce the need to transport good through the narrow Siliguri corridor, also known as Chicken’s Neck.
•Kaladan project seeks to ease India’s access to Southeast Asia
•India has for years sought transit access through Bangladesh to ship goods to the landlocked north-eastern States.
•At present, the only route to this region from the rest of India is a rather circuitous one through a narrow strip of Indian territory nicknamed the Chicken’s Neck in West Bengal, sandwiched between Bhutan and Bangladesh.
• The new route through Sittwe would significantly lower the cost and distance of movement from Kolkata to Mizoram and beyond.
What is the delay?
The $484 million Kaladan project, was originally scheduled to be completed by 2014.
- The military coup in Myanmar might impact the Kaladan project as it is “in a very difficult part” of the country, bordering four northeastern States.
- The road building has been the cause of delay because there are some law and order challenges in that region.
- Sittwe is the capital of Rakhine State (which has been in the news for the plight of Rohingya Muslims) in south-western Myanmar.
- The project has been hit by delays due to work being affected by the Covid-19 pandemic
- The threat posed by rebels of the Arakan Army, which has targeted the shipment of materials for the infrastructure project and attacked Myanmar troops providing security to the venture.