Presenting the Union Budget 2020-21 in the Parliament, finance minister Nirmala Sitharaman announced the allocation of over Rs 1.6 lakh crore for highway projects in poll-bound states of Assam, Bengal and Tamil Nadu.
The centre will invest Rs 1.03 lakh crore in Tamil Nadu for 3,500 km of National Highway works in the state. This will include projects such as Madurai-Kollam corridor and Chittoor-Thatchur corridor.
National Highway works of around 19,000 crores are currently in progress in the State of Assam. Further works of more than 34,000 crores covering more than 1300 km of National Highways will be undertaken in the State in the coming three years.
In West Bengal, the centre has announced 675 km of highway works at a cost of Rs 25000 crore including the up-gradation of the existing Kolkata – Siliguri road. In Assam where highway works of around `19,000 crores are currently in progress, the centre will undertake further works of more than `34,000 crores covering over 1300 km in the coming three years.
The three states are set to go on polls in a few months along with Kerala and Puducherry. While the ruling BJP has limited sway in Left ruled Kerala, and is not a key player in Puducherry the other three states are important for it.
The saffron party rules the state of Assam whereas it is hoping to create history in Bengal by capturing power for the first time in the state currently under the firm grip of Mamata Banerjee led TMC. In Tamil Nadu the main contest is between the ruling AIADMK led front, in which the saffron party is a member, and the opposition led by DMK.
The allocation of funds for the road projects comes as the centre continues to carry forward its ambitious highways building programme-- Bharatmala project. The road transport and highways ministry has identified stretches for development of about 26,200 km length of economic corridors, 8,000 km of inter corridors, 7,500 km of feeder routes, 5,300 km border and international connectivity roads, 4,100 km coastal and port connectivity roads and 1,900 km expressways in near future.
First Published: IST