MEA cancels contract of 69 bridges on IMT highway

IMPHAL, 3rd Feb: The consulate general of India in Myanmar’s Mandalay was told to complete constructions of the 69 bridges along the India-Myanmar-Thailand (IMT) Trilateral Highway when the consulate general proposed to start the Imphal-Mandalay bus service.
The reply came as a response to the cancellation of the contract for construction of 69 bridges, which would be funded by India, by the ministry of external affairs following failure of the work agency in executing the project.
Sources said that the project for construction of the bridges was awarded to a Mumbai based agency, under which several contractors from Manipur took sub-contracts for the bridges. However, no progress has been made over the project in the last four or five years, which prompted the ministry to cancel the contract.
The response from Myanmar government took off-guard a state government team led by Speaker of Manipur legislative assembly Y Khemchand and Committee on Act East Policy convener RK Shivachandra, who has no knowledge of the situation.
The state government team was accorded a warm welcome in Sagaing region on Saturday with Sagaing region assembly’s speaker as the host. Consulate General of India was also present in the event, which was attended by chief minister and council of ministers of the Myanmar state. As the consulate general proposed commissioning of Imphal-Mandalay bus service, the Sagaing government team told him that the present condition of the bridges between Tamu and Mandalay are not suitable for introducing the bus service and urged him to complete the bridges first. They also enquired the reason for delaying the project while expressing their dissatisfaction over the delay.
The Sagaing government team also enquired the reason to Manipur Speaker Khemchand, who conceded that he did not have proper knowledge of the matter. He, however assured them to take up the matter with the Manipur government and also press India’s ministry of external affairs, sources said. Meanwhile, speaking to The People’s Chronicle in a telephonic interview, Speaker Khemchand described as disheartening to learn that some contractors from Manipur are responsible for cancellation of the contract.
Stressing the need for the state government’s strong initiative and attention in this regard, he said that the situation could tarnish the image of the state if not addressed swiftly.
Regarding his meeting with Mandalay chief minister on January 31, Khemchand informed that the Mandalay CM expressed gratitude for the hospitality of Manipur government during their visit in the state and assured to take up initiatives for setting up a trade centre for Manipur in Mandalay.
RK Shivachandra also expressed concern over the action of the contractors from Manipur. China is in the process of bringing bullet train service to Mandalay by 2020 to strengthen better trade relations and the unprofessional nature of the state’s contractors has rendered useless the efforts of the Centre and state government to boost trade relation between the two neighbouring countries, he said.
The state government team went to Mandalay along with a women’s football team, who played a friendly match with Mandalay women’s football team on January 30. Mandalay defeated Manipur 4-0. The state team also lost another friendly match against Sagaing team by 2-0.

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