NEW DELHI, April 3 - In a fresh attempt to prod Myanmar to launch a flushout operation against the militant outfits of the Northeast, India has allocated Rs 225 crore under its Aid to Myanmar programme.
However, non-action on the part of Myanmar in the past apparently has not gone down well with New Delhi, as the aid sanctioned for 2017-18 is less than Rs 400 crore sanctioned in 2016-17.
Frequent requests by India to Myanmar to launch a crackdown on militant organisations ULFA(I), NSCN(K) and NDFB(S), besides various insurgent groups of Manipur have fallen on deaf ears, admitted sources.
Officials explained that the Government of India has a long standing policy of deepening integration with Myanmar that shares a border with four of the northeastern states. �Such integration will not only help us meet the needs of our northeastern states but also further our Act East policy. Myanmar is India�s gateway to Southeast Asia and thus holds the key to our Act East policy,� sources said.
India has undertaken several projects in the field of development of infrastructure, health, culture, education, etc., in Myanmar. �While Monywa Hospital has been upgraded and handed over to Myanmar, we have also helped establish the Myanmar Institute of Information Technology, Advanced Centre of Agriculture Research and Education in that country in recent years,� sources said.
�It was envisaged that work in projects like Kaladan Road, construction of 69 bridges for the Trilateral Highway Project and construction of the Kalewa-Yargi Road would be awarded in 2016-17, which would necessitate release of a mobilisation advance to the contractor,� sources added.
However, the tendering process has not been completed due to various reasons and the bids received being at high variance from the estimated cost of work in some cases. Therefore, the allocation was reduced during 2016-17 to avoid lapsing of unutilised funds. The work in these projects is expected to be awarded in the first half of 2017-18. The commencement of these projects will ensure optimal utilisation of the allocated budget.
Sources said that the allocation of Rs 200 crore for Aid to Myanmar was reduced to Rs 80 crore. This was because a key tender package for the Trilateral Highway project could not be awarded as the bids received were at large variance with the estimated cost and also as the tender for the road component of the Kaladan multi-modal transit transport project was undergoing detailed evaluation.