The Asian Development Bank (ADB) and the Centre have signed an agreement to support preparation of road upgradation in Sikkim with a commitment of $2.5 million. The project will help improve connectivity to important towns, rural areas, and pilgrimage and tourist destinations in the northeastern state.
“The PRF project aims to ensure implementation readiness through feasibility studies, preparing detailed engineering designs of selected subprojects and building capacity of state agencies so that the ensuing project gets completed in a timely manner,” said Takeo Konishi, Country Director of ADB’s India Resident Mission “It will also help incorporate elements of road safety, maintenance, and climate adaptation and mitigation in the ensuing project for long-term sustainability of created assets,” he said.
Sikkim is strategically located, which also connects India and China.
It will also play an important part in Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Act East policy.
Meanwhile, India and Bangladesh have already resumed trans-border rail connectivity between Haldibari in West Bengal and Chilahati located across the border in Nilphamari district after almost 55 years.
The area is of strategic importance and in close proximity to Sikkim.“The area especially around Nath-La Pass and even Doklam has seen several conflicts and now with an aggressive and increasingly belligerent China, India needs to protect this region. In case any other external force manages to break this corridor, India’s connectivity with the north east will be cut off,” the analyst said, adding that the new rail route will also boost trade between the two neighbours.