Japan Bankrolls Highway Linking Mon and Karen States

A Japanese aid agency has promised to provide low-interest loans to the Mon State government for road building and other infrastructure projects.

The Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) is to finance the reconstruction of a small road that runs between Tarana village in Kyaikmaraw Township, Mon State and Chaungnakhwa village in Kyain Seikgyi Township, Karen State, into an all weather two-lane highway.

Dr. Min Nwe Soe, the Mon State minister for projects and commerce confirmed to Karen News that the highway project would start as soon as the wet season ends. Dr. Min Nwe Soe told Karen News that JICA will finance regional development projects and has provided low interest loans for the road project.

“We will start building the road between Tarana and Chaungnakhwa this year. We have an agreement with JICA that we will start the project in 2013-14,” added Dr. Min Nwe Soe.

Dr. Min Nwe Soe said that it is planned that the old 23-mile road that now runs between Tarana and Chaungnakwa village would be upgraded into a two-lane-highway and if on schedule the project would be finished within the next project year.

Dr. Min Nwe Soe said that aside from giving loans, JICA would also help with construction materials and technical support to make sure the project is in line with international standards.

Saw Aung Kyaw Lay, a local resident who is a regular traveler on the road described its current condition.

“The road is now still dirt road with thin paved. If the road is advanced into two lanes highways, our transportation will get better.”

According to Burma government sources, the JICA loans will be made available through the State Minister’s Office and a budget given to the State Construction Department to begin the road construction project.

Sources close to the State government said that according to the agreement with JICA, the Japanese aid agency is asking for 0.4 % interest per year. The loans are due to be paid back within 30-years with the first 10-years interest free.

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