New Delhi, March 17 (IANS): India will soon sign an agreement with Myanmar and Thailand to provide road connectivity in the region, following a similar agreement with three other nations, Road Transport, Highways and Shipping Minister Nitin Gadkari said on Thursday.
"The IMT trilateral highway project will be signed among three countries -- India, Myanmar and Thailand. The agreement is ready. We will sign it within 15 days so that there will be seamless connectivity to all these countries," Gadkari told the India Today Conclave here.
"Connectivity between Bangladesh, India, Bhutan and Nepal to promote seamless movement of goods from border has been already signed," the minister said, referring to the agreement inked in June last year, as part of a larger plan to connect the Subcontinent with Asean members.
"Now, 25 places from India have a bus service to Bangladesh."
Dwelling on faster road network, Gadkari said work had started on eastern and western principal express highways. This apart, the Delhi-Panipat highway was being built at a cost of Rs.15,000 crore, with Prime Minister Narendra Modi setting a target of 400 days for completion.
He also said that the 90-km, 14-lane Delhi-Meerut Express Highway will be a first of kind in India.
Gadkari said the country's northeast region was also a top priority for his government and that Rs.1 lakh crore had been allocated for roads projects there. "Our target is to complete the project in the northeast by five years," he said.
"Our 'Bharatmala' project is also on track," the minister said, referring to the plan for a major initiative for the national highways to improve road connectivity along the coast, borders, least developed regions, religious places, tourist spots along with bridges and road widening.
Detailed project reports are already being prepared for 17,200 km of roads with 205 rail over- and under-passes and 1,500 major bridges along the national highways. In ports, modernisation plans are afoot, even as work is progressing fast on inland waterways, Gadkari said.