Work on a new road project in Chin State funded by a World Bank loan will begin next October, a state official has announced.

The new road will connect the townships of Kalay, Falam and Hakha. The starting point of the road will be in Kalay, which straddles the Chin State and Sagaing Region border.

“The road marks the first project with international backing in Chin State, and is very much welcomed even though the start of the project will only be in October next year,” said Chin State Minister of Transport and Communications U Shwe Chit Oo.

The Kalay-Falam-Hakha road is crucial in connecting Chin State with other regions and states in the country and once completed will boost development in the state, U Shwe Chit Oo added.

The project will be carried out with a US$65million loan from the World Bank and is part of $200 million in funding provided to Myanmar after the flooding in 2015, said Mr Josiah Bowles an international safeguards specialist and advisory team member for the World Bank.

The loan was granted for infrastructure development in Rakhine State, Ayeyawaddy Region, and Chin State.

Currently, officials are conducting the environmental impact assessment for the road project, after which more in-depth planning for the road can begin, Bowles said.

International consultancy Cardno Myanmar Co has been selected by the World Bank and the Ministry of Construction, to ensure the environmental and social impacts from the road project are minimised.

Cardno Myanmar is now carrying out assessment work and according to its latest information, the number of people expected to be affected by the project is 600.

The project is an important one for Chin State so care is being taken to ensure that it is properly built and sustainable, said Ms Flora Bawi Nei Mawi, an official with an NGO in Chin.

Initial results for environmental and social impact studies for the project conducted by Chin State civil society organisations were released in Hlaing Township, yesterday.

An agreement called the Chin Action Plan approved by the state government will serve as a guideline to ensure people affected by the project will be fairly compensated and that the project will be carried out as fairly, transparently, and with as little environmental impact as possible, Bowles said. – Translated

 

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