NEW DELHI: The government is committed to providing 50 lakh jobs in highways and shipping as it plans to undertake projects worth Rs 6 lakh crore.
Speaking on the sidelines of a conference here on Thursday, Nitin Gadkari, Minister of Roads and Highways said, “We have decided to do work worth Rs 5 lakh crore in road sector and Rs 1 lakh crore in shipping sector. In the next five years we will ensure employment to at least 50 lakh youth in the country.”
The government is likely to get funding from Asian Development Bank for a project worth Rs 22,000 crore that will provide connectivity between India and Sri Lanka. Besides overhauling these sectors, the government has been trying to improve connectivity with neighbouring nations on high priority basis, Gadkari said.
After signing pacts with Bangladesh, Bhutan and Nepal for seamless flow of traffic, another project for providing connectivity with Sri Lanka is on the anvil, he added.
Speaking at the conference, Gadkari said that the government’s target is to expedite the construction of National Highways in India. He further added that all steps should be taken to develop new technologies and equipment so as to bring down the cost of construction and improving the quality of road infrastructure.
However, there is a missing link of narrow corridor of about 22 km in connectivity to Sri Lanka from Rameshwaram which is presently being serviced through makeshift ferry service arrangements. Gadkari said, “We are working on the project and as soon as it is completed, Trans Asia Road and transport network could be extended to Sri Lanka.”
The proposed project will be a combination of bridge and underwater tunnel which will allow unhindered movement of ships through it, he said.
Gadkari said that by year end India will sign a pact with Myanmar and Thailand. He added that the inland waterways should be developed to reduce the cost of transportation which is about one fifth of the cost as compared to other modes of transportation.
Work on $8 billion road connectivity projects among Bangladesh, Bhutan, India and Nepal under Motor Vehicle Agreement will be completed within two years, he said.