India, Burma to complete first phase of Kaladan Project in June
13 January 2014: The first of the three phases of the ‘controversial’ Kaladan multi-purpose transportation project will be finished by June this year, according to the Essar Company.
The Indian company said that about 70 percent of the first phase involving the construction of Sittwe Deep Seaport in Arakan State, Paletwa jetty in Chin State, and Kaladan waterway dredging had been completed.
In 2008, India and Burma signed the bilateral venture for which an estimated US $214million has been provided by the Indian government through its Ministry of External Affairs.
A report released last year by the Kaladan Movement had raised concerns about the lack of government transparency surrounding the implementation of the project.
The report – based on the findings from field research conducted by the Arakan Rivers Network in Arakan State, the Chin Human Rights Organization in Chin State, and the Zo Indigenous Forum in Mizoram State – pointed out that negative impacts including land confiscation and forced relocation without adequate compensation in Mizoram State, and labour discrimination and destruction of local cultural heritage in Arakan State have already been experienced by people living along the Kaladan Project route.
Salai Za Uk Ling, Program Director at CHRO, said: “Local people in the Paletwa area of Chin State haven’t even been informed about the route of the highway in their area. How can they benefit from the project if they know next to nothing about it, or how it might affect them?”
The whole project is expected to be completed in 2015.#