A delegation from the World Bank met Chin State government representatives on Tuesday to discuss a project to upgrade the highway connecting Kalay, in Sagaing, with Chin State’s Falam and Hakha townships.
“We want this road to be built as soon as possible. They haven’t completed technical matters including design […] and studying the environmental issues. Construction will be kicked off after the completion of those studies,” U Shwe Htee O, Chin State’s transportation minister, told Khonumthung News.
The officials, which included World Bank environmental specialist Martin Fodor, also met representatives of Chin civil society organizations in Hakha to discuss cooperation in monitoring the implementation of the roadwork.
The project—known as the Kalay-Falam-Hakha highway upgrade—was originally expected to start in October 2019, but it remains unknown if construction will begin on schedule.
The World Bank promised a US$200 million loan to Burma to rebuild infrastructure destroyed in natural disasters. Of this, $66.8 million was designated to the Chin State government for the highway project.
The construction ministry began working on the road in 2016, but the World Bank’s financing was later withheld due to violations of social and environmental standards, including the destruction of homes, the dumping of construction materials, and dangerous working conditions.
The Chin State government, reportedly upon request from the World Bank, gave a total of 200 million kyats ($128,240) to locals as compensation for their suffering.