Tajikistan, China Agree on Rehabilitation of Remaining Sections of Dushanbe-kulma Highway

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The possibility of attraction of Chinese funds for construction and rehabilitation of the remaining sections of the Dushanbe-Kulma highway were discussed here on April 12 at a meeting of Tajik Minister of Azim Ibrohim with officials and entrepreneurs of the Chinese city of Kashgar. 

According to the Ministry of Transport (MoT) press center, they talked about the construction and rehabilitation of the sections with a total length of 296 kilometers.

A total length of the Dushanbe-Khorog-Kulma is 1,008 kilometers. 

The parties reached an agreement to sign an official document on this issue in the near future, the MoT press center noted. 

In the course of the talks, Tajik minister, in particular, noted that due to allocation by the Chinese government of 200 million US dollars in no-strings aid, the implementation of the project aimed at rehabilitating the Qalaikhumb-Vanj-Rushan Border section of this highway began last year.  

The project reportedly includes construction of two tunnels with a total length of 5.2 kilometers, five avalanche galleries and other engineering facilities.  

The parties also touched upon the issue related to unhindered movement of goods through the Kulma-Qarasou border crossing point (BCP)

The Kulma-Qarasou BCP is the only overland border crossing along the 450-kilometer boundary between Tajikistan’s Gorno-Badakhshan Autonomous Region (GBAO) and China’s XUAR.

Opened in 2004, the Tajik-China trade route runs from Khorog, the capital of Gorno Badakhshan in southeastern Tajikistan, over a high-altitude plateau and then down into China, where it ends in the city of Kashgar, 700 kilometers away.

As conditions are so tough at the Kulma border crossing, which is located on a mountain pass 4,400 meters high, until May 1 2008, the gateway had stayed open only 15 days out of every month, while from November through April it had been closed altogether.

From 2008 to 2012, the Kulma crossing operated every day, except weekends, from May through November.

Tajikistan and China reached an agreement on a year-round operation of the Kulma border-crossing checkpoint on December 29, 2011 but it became possible only in 2012, when all necessary conditions were created to ensure the year-round operation of the Kulma border crossing.

The Kulma Pass is a mountain pass across the Pamir Mountains on the border between the Gorno-Badakhshan Autonomous Region of Tajikistan and the Xinjiang Autonomous Region of China.  Asian Highway AH66 runs through the pass.

The pass opens from the north to the southeast, and is 500 m wide from north to south and 1 km in length from east to west with a gentle incline not exceeding 20 degrees.  On the Tajik side, the pass is 80 km by road to Murgab.  On the Chinese side, the pass is 13.9 km from Qarasou, a port of entry on the Karakorum Highway, which leads to Tashkurgan (60–70 km) and Kashgar (220 km).

Source : ASIA-Plus