To boost SAARC ties, Mamata clears two highway projects

The total cost of the project will be Rs 1,434 crore and will be funded by the Asian Development Bank.

Written by Sabyasachi Bandopadhyay | Kolkata | Published:June 4, 2014 3:07 am

Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee has announced two road projects in north Bengal that will connect Bangladesh with Nepal and Bhutan.

The total cost of the project will be Rs 1,434 crore and will be funded by the Asian Development Bank.

“Once completed, the projects will boost ties between SAARC countries of India, Nepal, Bhutan and Bangladesh. It’s a path-breaking step and we are keen on completing this project soon,’’ Mamata said on Monday at Uttarkanya, the state government’s secretariat in Jalpaiguri, after a meeting with officials and ministers from north Bengal.

Of the two, work on Asian Highway 2 will begin from Panitanki at Nepal border and crossing Bagdogra will reach Fulbari at Bangladesh border. The total cost of this portion has ben estimated at Rs 602 crore.

The second, Asian Highway 48, will start from Joygaon near Bhutan border and end at Changrabandha bordering Bangladesh, with the cost expected to be around Rs 832 crore.

“The projects need clearance from the cabinet committee on economic affairs. We have already placed the file before the Union government. We hope the two projects get their approval in the first meeting itself,’’ Indeevar Pandey, principal secretary, PWD, told The Indian Express.

The highways will be constructed by National Highway Authority of India with help from the state government’s Public Works Department, Department of Urban Development and the Department of North Bengal Development.
Land, according to Pandey, will not be a problem. “There is just a 2-km stretch along the Jaldapara wildlife sanctuary and we need clearance from the Ministry of Environments and Forests for that,’’ he said.

Gautam Deb, minister for North Bengal Development, explains the economic viability the projects would lend. “More than India, it will benefit Bangladesh as they will have easy access to Nepal and Bhutan. It will boost both trade and tourism among all SAARC nations.”

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  1. U
    UJJAL AICH
    Jun 10, 2015 at 8:28 pm
    SAARC ROAD PANITANKI TO BAGDOGRA TO FULBARI IS A DEFECTIVE RUTE BECOUSE THIS RUTE IS VERY EXPENSIVE AND MANY PEOPLE ( businessman) WILL BE EVICTED FOR THIS ROAD. AND MANY PEOPLES WILL BE UNEMPLO (MORE THAN TEN THOUSAND PEOPLE) . THIS IS A LONG RUTE. BUT PANITANKI TO KHARIBARI TO GHOSH PUKUR (E.W.CORRIDOOR) IS A SHORT RUTE FOR A.H.-2 .
    Reply
  2. H
    Hansraj
    Jun 4, 2014 at 4:15 am
    This will surely boost SAARC ties. Actually SAARC lags far behind other successful regional organizations like ASEAN or EU, and unlike them, it doesn't even have a common Anthem yet! There is hope though, that an official Anthem will be adopted in Nov. 2014 in Kathmandu summit. I found this Anthem fascinating (contains tunes of National Anthems of India, Bangladesh, Nepal....): :youtu.be/WR5f1DJIpAY
    Reply
  3. A
    Aditya
    Jun 3, 2014 at 10:30 pm
    More illegal immigration from bangladesh detected!
    Reply