AGARTALA, June 30: In the wake of an agreement between India, Bangladesh, Nepal and Bhutan for unhindered vehicular movement, a similar accord with Myanmar and Thailand will facilitate smoother surface movement in the region, union Road Transport and Highways Minister Nitin Gadkari said on Tuesday.
“An agreement will soon be signed with Myanmar and Thailand to make surface connectivity with adjoining countries in the region easier,” the union minister said after laying the foundation stone of a double-laning project of tiol Highway 44 here.
He also said that funding from Japan Intertiol Cooperation Agency would be sought to develop and improve roads in the northeastern region of the country.
The agreement between India and three other member-tions of the South Asian Association for Regiol Cooperation (SAARC) in Kathmandu on June 15 was expected to provide a major boost to regiol cooperation through unrestricted vehicular movement effective September 18.
The Indian government has taken ambitious initiatives to develop connectivity between the country and its neighbours like Bangladesh, Nepal, Bhutan, Myanmar and Thailand to boost economic prosperity, he said.
Announcing road projects for increased connectivity among northeastern states and with neighbouring countries, the minister said his ministry had embarked upon the construction of one lakh km roads in the next five years in the eight northeastern states bordering Chi, Bangladesh, Myanmar, Nepal and Bhutan.
“Of this target, 10,000 km of roads will be completed soon. A total of 20,000 km roads will be completed by December. tiol Highways and Infrastructure Development Corporation Limited (NHIDCL) has taken initiatives to speed up the road works,” he added.
NHIDCL, a fully owned company of the Ministry of Road Transport and Highways, was set up recently to promote, conduct surveys, establish, design, build, operate, maintain and upgrade tiol highways and strategic roads, including interconnecting roads in parts of the country that share intertiol boundaries with neighbouring countries. (IANS)