India has decided to join the Trans-Asian railway network that will connect countries across Asia and will have to spend about Rs 3,000 crore (Rs 30 billion) to construct a link rail line with Myanmar, Lok Sabha was informed on Thursday.
The Centre has approved the signing and ratification of the inter-governmental agreement on Trans-Asian Railway, Minister of State for Railways R Velu said in reply to a question.
"The missing link in India is from Jiribam (in Manipur) to Tamu in Myanmar. The construction of this missing link, as per the feasibility study conducted by the Ministry of External Affairs throuhg RITES Ltd, is estimated to cost Rs 2,941 crore (Rs 29.41 billion)," he said.
Velu said on this portion, the railway ministry has sanctioned construction of 97 km new rail link between Jiribam and Tupul near Imphal at a cost of Rs 727.5 crore (Rs 7.27 billion).
The inter-governmental agreement on Trans-Asian Railway was negotiated under the aegis of UN Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific and was opened for signature during the ministerial conference on transport at Busan, South Korea, in November 2006.
The agreement defines and lists the railway lines of international importance, including the missing links, and lays down the guiding principles relating to technical characterstics for transport.
The 81,000 km network stretches from Turkey and Iran in the west to Russia, China and South Korea in the north, Kazakstan and Uzbekistan in central Asia, and Vietnam and Thailand in South East Asia. "The agreement does not estimate the total investment required on the network," Velu said.