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  • Context (TH): Kaladan Multi-Modal Transit Transport Project (KMTTP) has “almost died” after the rebel Arakan Army (AA) captured the Paletwa township near the Mizoram border in January.

Kaladan Multi-Modal Transit Transport Project

  • The Kaladan Multi Modal Transit project was conceived in 2008 jointly by India and Myanmar.
  • It is aimed at connecting the port of Kolkata with the port of Sittwe in Rakhine or Arakan State which would then be connected to Mizoram by road and the Kaladan river which flows by Paletwa.
  • The project is be entirely funded by India and the Inland Waterways Authority of India has been appointed as project development consultant.
  • Components: Involves sea, river, and road transportation:
    1. Sea Route: From Kolkata to Sittwe (539 km).
    2. River Route: Sittwe to Paletwa via the Kaladan River (158 km).
    3. Road Component: Paletwa to Indo-Myanmar border (110 km), and further into Mizoram.

Kaladan Multi-Modal Transit Transport Project

Significance

  • The project offers India’s northeastern states access to the sea and an opportunity to develop greater economic linkages with Southeast Asia.
  • It will reduce the traffic-load over the only connecting link by land through the narrow Siliguri corridor and substantially reduce the distance between Kolkata and the Northeast.
  • The Siliguri Corridor, also known as the “Chicken’s Neck”, is a 60-kilometer long and 22-kilometer-wide stretch of land in West Bengal.
  • It connects the eight northeastern states of India to the rest of the country.

'Chicken's Neck' Siliguri Corridor

  • The Sittwe port offers quicker access to the largest Myanmarese market – the most densely populated regions of Irrawaddy basin and Yangon.
  • It enables traders and businessmen from Northeast India to explore markets in Thailand, Malaysia and Singapore and vice-versa.
  • With the operationalization of the Sittwe port, food-starved Mizoram will get sufficient quantities of rice from Myanmar and this would further enhance border trade between the two countries.
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