BIG NEWS - India approves $1billion highway project linking Bangladesh, Bhutan and Nepal

The new project has been given an official nod by India's Department of Economic Affairs with 50 percent funding from the Asian Development Bank (ADB), officials told IANS, adding that 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," a senior official said.

"The primary idea behind the Bangladesh-Bhutan-India-Nepal (BBIN) road initiative is to improve ground connectivity in the region," said Leena Nandan, Joint Secretary, Ministry of Road Transport and Highways.

"We have taken up five highway stretches in the country, which are very important for such a connectivity to succeed. This project is entirely different and new -- and about to be rolled out," Nandan told IANS.

The project -- as per a list accessed by IANS -- includes, among others, 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).

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