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Moreh is a town located on the India-Myanmar border in the Tengnoupal district of the Indian state of Manipur. The town is mainly inhabited by Kuki , Tamil, Nepali, Meitei, Punjabi, Telugu, Bihari, Marwari and Muslim Pangals. Official language is Meitei and Kuki. Moreh plays a very important role in connection with the India-Myanmar relationship and is also a rapidly developing trade point in India on the border with Myanmar, with the city of Tamu on the other side of the border.
Moreh is already a huge commercial hub, and economists suggested that it could become a bustling city in the next couple of decades. The town is already seen as the commercial capital of Manipur and India's Gateway to South-East Asia.
The Indo-Myanmar Friendship Bridge in Moreh connects India to Kalewa in Myanmar's Sagaing Division. The highway on the Myanmar side is intended to run up to Mandalay but it is in bad shape. Indian planners hope the rail link to Moreh will eventually be connected to the Myanmar railway system, allowing onward connectivity to Thailand and China.
In the 2011 India census, Moreh had a population of 16,847. Males were 8,670 while 8,177 were females. Moreh had an average literacy rate of 71.47%, lower than the state average of 76.94%: male literacy was around 79.52%, and female literacy was 62.88%. In Moreh, 14.58% of the population was under 6 years of age. The female sex ratio was 943 compared with the state average of 985. The child sex ratio was around 985 compared with the Manipur state average of 930.
Moreh plays a key role in the development of economy of the state. There are 40 tradable items under the Barter Trade mechanism through Moreh (India-Myanmar Border). Major exports include cement, engineering goods, transport equipment, motor cycles, iron and steels, medicine, chemicals and allied products, cotton yarn, etc. The major items now imported from Myanmar through barter mechanism are betel nuts, turmeric, red kidney beans (Rajma), kuth roots, gram, resin, dry ginger, etc. The volume of trade at Moreh-Tamu Border Point in 2001-02 was ` 95.48 million and in 2009-10 ` 298.19 million - an average increase of 39% p.a. Further, Ministry of Finance, Govt. of India has also cleared the operational of "Normal Trade" through Land Customs Station (LCS), Moreh.
India’s Look East Policy and several new measures taken by both the Central and State Governments to promote and enhanced trade link with Southeast Asia, provide Manipur with a competitive advantage. In recognition of the potential of Moreh, the Government of India has notified an Integrated Check Post (ICP) at Moreh.
Integrated Check Post (ICP) Moreh
The proposed ICP will facilitate speedy movement of export-import consignments and reduce any inconvenience to the general public from any increase in trade from India’s Look East Policy. The state government has identified 18.41 hectares (45.50 acres) of land near Gate No.1 within Customs notified area. RITES, a Central Public Sector undertaking have prepared a DPR for Moreh ICP costing ` 136 crores and is under the process of implementation.
The proposed centre shall have (i) Immigration Department, (ii) local Police including Women Constables for immediate security, (iii) Land Customs Department, (iv) Customs Preventive Department, (v) Forests, (vi) Narcotics & Drug Control Department, (vii) Postal Department, (viii) Bank Counter, (ix) Telecom, (x) Animal Quarantine, (xi) Plant Quarantine, (xii) Quality Certification Inspection Agencies/Export Promotion Councils, (xiii) Trade Facilitation Counter and Trade related Public Bodies, (xiv) Food Testing Lab, (xv) Truck Parking facility, (xvi) Staff Quarters, basic amenities such as Canteen, Truck Drivers’ Rest House, etc....
As Moreh shares a border with Myanmar. it is a transit point for trafficking illicit drugs to the international market.
Road to Thailand
India’s foreign minister met with Myanmar’s construction minister in Delhi on the 22nd Feb 2012, and spoke about opening a highway between Moreh, in India, and the Myanmar-Thai border near Mae Sot. Former Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and Thein Sein have set a deadline of 2016 to provide trilateral road connectivity, that would make it possible to drive from India to Thailand via Myanmar.
As of 2012, all freight traffic from Asia to Europe goes by sea. The Trans-Asian Railway will enable containers from Singapore, China, Vietnam, Cambodia, India, Bangladesh, Myanmar, Thailand and Korea to travel over land by train to Europe. The Southern Corridor of the Trans-Asian Railway (TAR) is of prime interest to India. It connects Yunnan in China and Thailand with Europe via Turkey and passes through India.
There is a general understanding between India and Myanmar that their railways will be interconnected via a 346 km (215 mi) line section that will extend from Kalay in Myanmar to Jiribam in India via the border point at Tamu/Moreh, India.
The proposed route will enter India through Tamu and Moreh, then enter Bangladesh through Mahisasan and Shahbajpur and again enter India from Bangladesh at Gede. On the western side, the line will enter Pakistan at Attari. There is a 315 kilometres (196 mi) missing link on this route in the India-Myanmar sector; of this, 180 kilometres (110 mi), in India, is between Jiribam in Manipur and Tamu, Burma in Myanmar. The rail link between Jiribam and Tapul/Imphal has been sanctioned by Indian Railways, but that is unlikely to be completed before 2016. In 2011, construction work was in progress in a 97 kilometres (60 mi) stretch between Jiribam and Tupul/Imphal. India's Ministry Railway has also approved the Tapul/Imphal to Moreh, India/Tamu, Burma link.
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