Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Hindu Puja Held for Sittwe Port

Sittwe: A Hindu puja, a worship ceremony, was held by Indian company Essar on the premises of the Sittwe Port construction site on 17 September in order to avoid danger in the construction of the port, said an Indian national working on the project, on condition of anonymity.

He said, "We held the puja, named "Shri Vishwakarma Puja Ceremony", because we faced many obstacles with the construction in the past. Because of this, we held the worship puja to safeguard all workers in the future."

About 300 workers and related family members attended the ceremony, which was held from 8 to 11:30 am with Hindu traditional devotions.

"We have been constructing the Sittwe Port since last year, but we could not construct it in accordance with our plan because there were many difficulties. The sand we piled up at the construction site was washed away by heavy rain and waves. We have to pile up the sand at the site for the port to be constructed, but we have lost all of it," he added.

The Essar Company, an Indian company that has been constructing the seaport on the western shoreline of the Kaladan River near the Sittwe general hospital, piled up a large amount of sand over the course of a year in order to begin construction on the port.

"$80 million dollars are being spent for the seaport and it is a three-year project. Now the first year is already gone but there is no obvious development of the port due to many obstacles. Under such conditions, the seaport is not able to be constructed within three years. So we held the prayer ceremony with Hindu culture aimed at overcoming all problems in the construction of the seaport," he said.

The Sittwe Port is the first phase of the Burma - India Kaladan Multi-Modal Transit Transportation Project, which is being built to facilitate transportation to the northeastern states of India.

The Kaladan Multi-Modal Transit Transport Facility envisages connectivity between Indian ports on the eastern seaboard and Sittwe Port in Arakan State, with further connections through the Kaladan River and by road to Mizoram, providing an alternate route for the transport of goods to northeastern India.

The project will also provide connectivity between India and Burma, with the aim of developing trade between the two countries. It is also expected to contribute to the economic development of Mizoram and other northeastern states.

The project involves the development of a trade route between the two countries along the Kaladan River. The Kaladan is navigable from its confluence point with the Bay of Bengal near Sittwe up to Setpyitpyin, or Paletwa, in Burma to the north.

The objective of the project is to provide an access route to the landlocked northeastern region of India. The project is significant in view of severe pressure on the Siliguri Corridor and Bangladesh's continued intransigence in providing India transit rights through its territory to the northeast.

Around 50 Indian and Burmese experts and 150 workers are employed on the Sittwe Port project.

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