SASEC Road Connectivity Investment Program (SRCIP)
The SASEC Road Connectivity Investment Program (SRCIP) is an effort by the Asian Development Bank for improving road connectivity and efficiency in the international trade corridor shared with the SASEC (South Asia Subregional Economic Cooperation) member countries. The program aims at expanding roads upto 500 kilometres in the North Bengal and Northeastern region for greater connectivity with this corridor. This project has a key strategic importance in terms of expanding relations between South and South East Asia which borders Bangladesh, Bhutan, Nepal and Myanmar. It will provide route for safe transport of goods and people within India from these SASEC and ASEAN member countries.
Aims of the Project
The project has mainly two purposes:
- Promoting inclusive economic growth and
- Enhancing regional integration through overcoming the problems of last mile connections between main in-country road network and neighbouring countries.
Stages of the Project
The Project has been undertaken in two stages: Tranche 1 and Tranche 2.
Part of this stage is two national highways in West Bengal and state roads in Manipur that will be extending to Manipur. A total of US $300 million loan has been sanctioned for this.
This stage involves upgrading and widening the NH-39 situated in Manipur upto 65 kms in the Imphal-Moreh section. It will increase connectivity with the landlocked state of Maipur in which 90% of the area has a difficult terrain. This section is regarded as a key strategic area providing link with Thailand and Malaysia. This has received approval from the Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs (CCEA) in July, 2017 and shall provide impetus to trade, commerce and tourism in the region. It also includes the setting up of an Integrated Custom Post at Moreh. It will create a market for the bamboo and wood based handicraft items of Manipur in Myanmar. Along with this road safety features like vehicular underpasses, crash barriers, road signs and and markings, service roads for segregation of slow and high moving traffic, truck lay-bys, bus-bays will also be set up.
This project has a crucial importance for India as it is regarded as a part of its ‘Look East’ Policy. It is necessary to provide a gateway for trade and other relations with the South East Asian nations. The project corridor is also a part of Asian Highway No. 1(AH01).