The Union government will employ around 50 lakh people in highways and shipping sectors, where plans are afoot to take up projects worth Rs 6 lakh crore, said Union Minister for road transport and highways, Nitin Gadkari, on 9 July.
Besides this, “connectivity would be provided between Rameswaram and Sri Lanka for which Asian Development Bank is willing to provide Rs 22,000 crore funding”, he added. ‘
“After meeting the ADB vice-president, the bank showed its willingness to finance the proposed connectivity project,” said Gadkari.
There is a missing corridor of 22 km between Rameswaram and Sri Lanka, which is being serviced through a makeshift ferry service, he added.
The proposed project will be a combination of bridge and underwater tunnel to allow unrestrained movement of ships, he said.
“To spruce up infrastructure, works worth Rs 5 lakh crore will be done in the roads sector and Rs 1 lakh crore in shipping sector. Employment will also be ensured to 50 lakh youth,” said Gadkari.
On highways, Gadkari said the sector is being revived after it was left in the lurch by the previous UPA government. The public-private-partnership (PPP) mode is also picking up, he added.
Projects worth Rs 13,500 crore have been awarded so far this fiscal, in contrast to barely Rs 6,300 crore projects awarded in 2014-15. Only two PPP projects were awarded in the year 2013-14.
The ministry has 112 projects through public funds to be sold to foreign insurance and pension funds. Foreign funding agencies are ready to extend Rs 2 – Rs 3 lakh crore on 0.50 percent interest.
On new highway projects, Gadkari said, the pace of construction is picking up and many state highways would be converted into national highways. In the same breath, he asked the states to convert district roads into state highways.