India to complete Zaranj-Delaram road by December next: Cabinet

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New Delhi, Dec 13 (UNI) Reiterating its resolve to complete the ongoing Zaranj-Delaram road project in Afghanistan by December 2008, India today sanctioned the additional fund required to meet the cost escalation of the project which will give it improved access into Central Asia.

A meeting of the Union Cabinet, chaired by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, today reapproved Rs 746.79 crore as the new outlay of the project, by taking into account the escalated cost, Information and Broadcasting Minister Priya Ranjan Dasmunsi told mediapersons.

The 100-km-long Zaranj-Delaram road in Afghanistan is being constructed by the Border Roads Organisation (BRO) as part of India's commitment to rebuilding of the war-ravaged Afghanistan.

A year ago, an official of the BRO was kidnapped from the work site and killed by the Talibans .

Mr Dasmunsi said the road would help Afghanistan to provide communication facilities in remote parts of the country.

It would give India improved access into Afghanistan and Central Asia, he said, while pointing out that it would also open an alternate route for Afghanistan to an Iranian seaport and reduce its dependence on Pakistan.

''India's presence in general would further strengthen our interests in Afghanistan,'' Mr Dasmunsi said.


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