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Japan likely to take up road projects in Nagaland


Kohima, September 4: Like any other countries, Japan is willing to invest in Nagaland if security is guaranteed to them.
According to sources, Japanese Government is willing to invest if security situation is viable for them to operate in the State.
The State Government has assured full security to the Japanese Government but a source said the latter was still apprehensive due to mushrooming of several outfits whose objective is to collect money for survival. But many have been blaming the Union Government for mushrooming of rogue outfits and upsurge of extortions in the State, instead of reining such elements.
Currently Japan is analysing the ground situation in Nagaland before giving the nod to the State Government’s request for investment, especially in the road sector. A source said Japanese officials are in touch with State Government officials to work out terms and conditions before sending an approval and sanction from Tokyo.
Japan is taking up some roads in the Northeast and was willing to take up roads in Nagaland also provided security is guaranteed.
Japan is the highest donor to Asian Development Bank (ADB).
Even after spending millions of rupees on maintenance of roads, Nagaland is still struggling with bad roads, compounded by incessant rains causing landslides damaging the roads.
Earlier ten greenfield highway projects in northeast were likely to get the backing of the Japanese International Cooperative Agency, from which India has sought a soft loan of Rs 15,000 crore. A soft loan from JICA will allow the road transport and highways ministry to access funds at 0.5% interest rate for a period of more than 25 years.
The Centre plans to undertake construction of 1,000 kilometres of highway network in the northeast that is yet to be connected properly with the country’s highway network although it is of strategic importance.
Of the Rs 15,000 crore the Centre has sought from JICA, Rs 6,000 crore is for a 400-km highway project in Mizoram between Aizwal and Tuipang, while it proposes to build a 150-km highway in Meghalya, two projects in Manipur, and one each in Tripura, Nagaland and Assam. Construction of these highways is proposed to be undertaken by the newly-formed National Highways and Industrial Development Corporation, which has been mandated to undertake highway expansion work in India’s hilly states.
The Union Government had also sought a loan from Asian Development Bank for a 52-km link between Imphal and Myanmar.
Japan is among the few countries that India has allowed a presence in the eight landlocked states which are the country’s gateway to the Association of Southeast Asian Nations.
With an eye on China, the Government of India is working on a slew of road and bridge projects to improve connectivity with Bangladesh, Nepal and Myanmar. Also, India is pulling out all stops to expedite the South Asian Sub-Regional Economic Cooperation (SASEC) road connectivity programme in the backdrop of China’s ambitious One Belt One Road (Obor) initiative aimed at connecting around 60 countries across Asia, Africa and Europe.
The Centre has been critical of China’s Obor initiative, questioning China’s intentions in developing the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor, part of Obor, since it cuts through Gilgit and Baltistan areas of Pakistan-occupied Kashmir. (Page News Service)