Special visa counter in state: Shivachandra

IMPHAL,5th Aug: The need to go to Kolkata for applying Visa will be over shortly as Special Visa Arrangement counter through Act East Policy Committee Manipur will be opened soon in the state, informed Committee convener RK Shivachandra. He also said that with the official inauguration of Manipur-Myanmar Border Road (MMBR), scheduled on August 8, a Non-Intrusive Inspection for cargo scan will be installed.

Addressing media persons at his Kwakeithel Akham Leikai residence on Sunday, Shivachandra noted that unlike the past, acquiring visa to visit Myanmar will be most convenient after formal opening of the MMBR. Saying that August 8 will be a historic day for Manipur as it would be translation of the long awaited “Nongpok Thong Hangba (opening of eastern corridor), he maintained that the day will be commemorate by the committee every year. The MMBR set to become a reality after 20 years of process testify procedural intricacies and credit for its success is due to efforts of past and present governments and media.

Thanking Chief Minister N Biren for his vision in constituting the Committee to pave the way for materialisation of the Act East Policy, he recounted that due to the CM's effort, Myanmar Women football team came to Manipur as a part of Sangai Festival to improve the bilateral relations.

After that a 60-member business delegation went to Myanmar to talk about business opportunities. All these efforts have made it happen. The initiative taken up by the Sagaing government for opening of the road is also noteworthy, he said.

Further stating that Manipur should take the opportunity with both hands to develop the state within 2018 -2028, Shivachandra also expressed hope that with the opening of the MMBR, the perennial problem of landslides affecting movement of goods and people along the national highways could be solved. With better highways it would be most convenient for those intending to visit Vietnam, China, Thailand, etc., he maintained.

Manipur will have to work closely with government of Sagaing state of Myanmar to bring a big economic change in the state, RK Shivachandra observed. He further informed that as soon as MMBR is opened, ten high ranking officials of Sagaing government will be visiting Manipur on August 19 to 21 to take part in Sagaing Manipur Citizens Dialogue.

“Together we will brain storm on how to benefit from this opportunity. For the conveniences of the people who would be traveling the border road, a Special Visa Arrangement counter will be opened by the Committee so they can get the Visa in just 2-3 days. The office of the Committee will be made functional within one month at the Secured Office, North AOC. Right now there is no ‘Visa on Arrival’ but online e-Visa can be taken,” he said.

RK Shivachandra observed that what role Manipur will play in the Act East Policy is going to be a big question. A lot of Chinese cargo comes to India through the sea routes, Chinese products can be found in every household of the state. So, there is a big potential which needs to be trapped, if the cargoes could be brought through land routes. A channel for this will soon be opened, a Non-Intrusive Inspection for cargo scanning will soon be installed after which there will be no need of the check point at Khudengthabi and vehicles can go from Moreh to Imphal without any disturbance. As soon as the Integrated Check Post (ICP) is ready, Prime Minister Narendra Modi will come and start the Imphal-Mandalay Bus service. All these are a big achievement for Manipur, he said.

He also disclosed that after Manipur CM requested the Myanmar government for a ‘Land Route Trade Centre’ for Northeastern states at Mandalay, the neighbouring country has agreed to do so. Reciprocally Manipur CM has assured them that he will construct a guest house for the Buddhist monks. “We have to tap this huge potential and be ready for it, with the opening we can easily go to China and Thailand for doing business”. The MMBR will be opened at Tamu on August 8 with attendance of four officials from Manipur and other high ranking officials of Sagaing and Myanmar government, he informed.

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