Four poll-bound states found special mention in the Budget speech of finance minister Nirmala Sitharaman on Monday --- from Rs 1.03 lakh crore highway projects for Tamil Nadu to Rs 65,000 crore works for Kerala.
Tabling Budget 2021-22 in Parliament, Sithraman in her speech, specifically announced Rs 2.27-lakh crore highway projects for four states --- Tamil Nadu, West Bengal, Assam and Kerala amid approaching Assembly elections.
“To further augment road infrastructure, more economic corridors are also being planned," and these include "3,500 km of national highway works in the state of Tamil Nadu at an investment of Rs 1.03 lakh crore", she said.
The projects in Tamil Nadu comprise Madurai-Kollam corridor and Chittoor-Thatchur corridor for which construction will start next year.
Announcing 1,100 km of national highway works in Kerala at an investment of Rs 65,000 crore, she said these include 600 km section of Mumbai-Kanyakumari corridor in Kerala.
The finance minister also announced 675 km of highway works in West Bengal at a cost of Rs 25,000 crore, including an upgrade of the existing Kolkata–Siliguri road.
About Assam, she said national highway works of around Rs 19,000 crore are currently in progress.
"Further works of more than Rs 34,000 crore covering more than 1,300 km of national highways will be undertaken in the state in the coming three years," she said.
In addition, she proposed a "multipurpose seaweed park to be established in Tamil Nadu" terming seaweed farming as an emerging sector with potential to transform the lives of coastal communities and generate large scale employment and additional incomes.
Also for welfare of tea workers in Assam and West Bengal, she announced providing Rs 1,000 crore.
"I propose to provide Rs 1,000 crore for the welfare of tea workers especially women and their children in Assam and West Bengal. A special scheme will be devised for the same," Sitharaman said.
Road transport, highways and MSMEs minister Nitin Gadkari said with economic corridors, including in Tamil Nadu, Kerala, West Bengal and Assam, road projects will be strengthened.
More than 13,000 km length of roads, at a cost of Rs 3.3 lakh crore, has already been awarded under the Rs 5.35 lakh crore Bharatmala Pariyojana project, of which 3,800 km have been constructed in the country.
"By March 2022, we would be awarding another 8,500 km and complete an additional 11,000 km of national highway corridors," the minister said in her speech.
(With PTI Inputs)