Tamil Nadu’s Biggest Infra Push Ever? Centre Okays Rs One Lakh Crore For Highways, Ports And Irrigation

Tamil Nadu’s Biggest Infra Push Ever? Centre Okays Rs One Lakh Crore For Highways, Ports And IrrigationTuticorin Port in Tamil Nadu. (Pearljose via Wikimedia Commons)

In what may be the biggest ever infrastructure push in the state, the Centre has approved several projects totalling over Rs one lakh crore for Tamil Nadu, as reported by PTI.

The projects will cover highways, ports and shipping and under the Prime Minster's initiative, aim to find a permanent solution to the irrigation and drinking water requirements of the state.

Union Minister for Transport and Highways, Shipping, Water Resources and River Development, Nitin Gadkari announced the projects in a joint press conference with Tamil Nadu Chief Minister Edappadi K Palaniswami after a review meeting of Central and State government. The meeting was attended by several senior officials of the state and central governments including Minister of State for Finance and Shipping and MP from Kanniyakumari, Pon Radhakrishnan.

A total of 40,000 crore rupees of road and highway projects have been approved, including a 20,000 crore project for industrialisation and development along the Chennai-Bengaluru Expressway.

Other roads and highway development projects are focussed on decongesting traffic and suburban development in Chennai, upgradation of national highways in the state, prevention of accidents and development of ring roads in several cities. Six projects have also announced under the Bharatmala venture, which aims to link ports with the hinterlands. Detailed Project Reports (DPR) for upgradation of bus ports at Madurai, Coimbatore and Salem - to airport like facilities - are also to be submitted soon among others projects.

Moving to the Sagarmala projects next, the Minister said that Tamil Nadu was the only state with three ports, and capacity addition to these would boost exports and industrialisation in the state, along with taking some pressure off the road networks. To that extent, Tuticorin port is to be dredged to 16.5 meters from the current 14 meters allowing it to handle vessels with more than twice the current 60,000 tonnage capacity.

Also, coastal movement from Chennai to Puducherry will be commenced soon. Ferry services between Kanniyakumari and Rameshwaram and Thiruvananthapuram will be developed with private operators and central government support.

The Minister also said that river interlinking is the central government’s priority project, and precedence is being given to water-scarce southern states. Towards alleviating current scarcity, 300 TMC of water is proposed to be lifted from Godavari river upstream of Pollavaram project and would be released into the Nagarjuna Sagar Dam on River Krishna.

The Minister also stated that the government remains committed to the aim of doubling income of farmers by 2022.