Bangladesh-Bhutan-India-Nepal Road Initiative

India has approved an $1.04-billion Bangladesh-Bhutan-India-Nepal (BBIN) road initiative project for constructing and upgrading 558 km of roads to link it with Bangladesh, Bhutan and Nepal.

The primary idea behind the BBIN road initiative is to improve ground connectivity in the region and ease the movement of passengers and cargo, as part of the larger effort to increase inter-regional trade by 60 per cent.

The new project has been given an official nod by India’s Department of Economic Affairs with 50 per cent funding from the Asian Development Bank (ADB).

The road project will cover West Bengal and Manipur on the Indian side, as of now.

The mandate is for completing the project within the next two years.

The project includes:

-an upgrade of the 122-km Siliguri-Mirik-Darjeeling ($15 million) and

-the widening of the 60-km National Highway-35 (Kolkata-Bangaon) on the border with Bangladesh ($130 million).

-It also includes a new 123-km road to connect with Diamond harbour, on the outskirts of Kolkata, at a cost of $250 million.

-This apart, two highways are going to come up in Manipur — 115-km Ukhrul-Tolloi-Tadubi ($230 million) and a 138-km split, four-lane road between the Kohima-Kedima Kring-Imphal section of National Highway-39 ($280 million).

-Apart from the works under the $1 billion project, a 600 metre bridge and a 110 km-road in the Impal-Moreh stretch of Manipur are also being planned under the broader BBIN road initiative.