Fifteen years after it was approved, the waterway component of the Kaladan Multimodal Transit Transport project (KMTTP) is set to become operational.
The deep-water port at Sittwe is part of the Rs 3,200 croreKaladan Multi-Modal Transit Transport Project (KMTTP).
Sittwe, which was one of the busiest rice-exporting ports in the late 19th century, is located at the mouth of the Kaladan in Myanmar’s Rakhine state.
Piloted by the Ministry of External Affairs and first approved in 2008, the project is aimed at boosting trade and commerce between India and Myanmar and easing access to other South Asian countries.
Once ready, it will also provide a strategic alternate link connecting the landlocked northeastern states to the rest of India and easing the pressure on the existing narrow Siliguri corridor.
Developed by the Inland Waterways Authority of India (IWAI) — an autonomous organisation under the Union shipping ministry — the construction of the Sittwe port was completed way back in 2018.
But it could not be operationalised because of several obstacles, including delays in getting approvals and licenses because of the political turmoil in Myanmar and intense conflict in the Chin and Rakhine state.
The KMTTP Route:
KMTTP connects Kolkata to Sittwe port, which is further linked to Paletwa in Myanmar through a waterway route along the river Kaladan.
Both the port at Sittwe and the inland water terminal at Paletwa.
From Paletwa, a 110 km road is being built to connect to Zorinpui at Mizoram on the Indo-Myanmar border.
Zorinpui is further connected to Lawngtlai through a 100 km road.
From Lawngtlai, an existing highway connects it to Aizawl, which in turn is linked to other northeastern cities including Guwahati.