The Mizoram government has written to the Centre that a strategic road project, planned as a counter to a Chinese government-funded double lane road in neighbouring Myanmar, which runs parallel to the State, faces cancellation as the funds have lapsed.
The Border Roads Organisation (BRO) that was awarded the contract “has not yet completed construction of even one metre” of the road in the past 26 months, following which Mizoram Chief Minister Zoramthanga has written to the Centre that the project may be handed over to the State Public Works Department.
On January 10, K. Vanlalvena, Rajya Sabha member from Mizoram, wrote to Defence Secretary Giridhar Aramane that the Ministry of Development of North Eastern Region (DoNER) was planning to withdraw the sanction to the project as the time given for completion of work had lapsed.
“Even after the passage of 26 months since the work was sanctioned, the BRO has not yet completed construction of even one metre of this said road and since the time given for completion of this work has lapsed, the Ministry of DoNER is planning to withdraw this sanction,” Mr. Vanlalvena said.
₹66 crore sanctioned
The Ministry of DoNER, through the North Eastern Council (NEC), had sanctioned ₹66 crore for construction of Sangau to Saisih Chhuah double lane border road linking Myanmar and Mizoram. The DoNER had awarded the contract to the BRO more than two years ago.
“It may be mentioned here that the Myanmar government had already completed construction of a double lane road on the Myanmar side up to the Mizoram border at Saisih Chhuah from the capital of Chin state Hakha, Myanmar three years ago with financial sanction by the Government of China,” the letter to Defence Secretary said.
The letter sought disciplinary action against BRO officials responsible for the lapse as “this border road is not only very important for the Mizoram tribal people but also vital in the interest of national security.”
The Rajya Sabha member told The Hindu that after Myanmar built the road with the help of the Chinese government, all kinds of vehicles could reach right up to the Mizoram border.
“The Mizoram government has constructed a small road, which is single lane, non-metal and not an all-weather road. The Chief Minister has requested the Centre to hand over the project of the strategic road to the State PWD if the BRO is not able to complete the construction,” Mr. Vanlalvena said.
There was no response from the BRO regarding the claims made by the Mizoram MP.