NEW DELHI: The Asian Development Bank (ADB) on Tuesday approved a loan of $631 million or Rs 4228.9 crore (at Tuesday’s exchange rate) for building India's first coastal industrial corridor between Visakhapatnam and Chennai.
The programme will focus on increasing women’s participation in the industrial workforce, skills training for 25,000 male and female workers, entrepreneurs, and students along with an investor promotion plan is expected to boost businesses along the corridor, according to the ADB.
“In line with Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s vision to develop Indian coast line as major economic zones, the government is keen to encourage manufacturing to maintain strong economic growth over the longer term and create well-paying jobs for a labour force that is growing by around 12 million people each year,” said Manoj Sharma, Principal Urban Development Specialist of ADB.
Sharma added that the fund will help develop the first key 800-km section of the planned 2,500-km East Coast Economic Corridor and provide impetus to development on India’s eastern coast. It will also facilitate seamless trade links with other parts of South and Southeast Asia.
The Visakhapatnam-Chennai Industrial Corridor section of the East Coast Economic Corridor, connecting four economic hubs and nine industrial clusters, will mark the first industrial corridor developed along India’s coast. It will, when completed, extend from Kolkata in West Bengal to Tuticorin in Tamil Nadu.
The total cost of the project is $846 million (Rs 5,669.75 crore) and is expected to be completed by 2031. However, the remaining $215 million (Rs 1,440.9 crore) will be funded by the Andhra Pradesh government.
ADB's loans and grants comprise a two-tranche facility of $500 million (Rs 3,350.9 crore) to build key infrastructure and a $125 million (Rs 8,377.3 crore) two-tranche loan to help in industrial policies and business promotion.
"By combining state-of-the-art industrial clusters, efficient transport, reliable water and power supplies with a skilled workforce and good business policies, we expect the Visakhapatnam-Chennai industrial corridor to become a favoured investment destination," Sharma said.
ADB estimates that by 2025, annual industrial output along the corridor will increase four-fold to $64 billion (Rs 4,28,918 crore) from about $16 billion (Rs 1,07,229.4 crore) in 2015, if investment opportunities are maximized over the next ten years.
The Andhra Pradesh government will get also a $5 million grant (Rs 33.5 crore) from the multi-donor Urban Climate Change Resilience Trust Fund to build climate change resilient infrastructure.
This will be built in the four main centres along the corridor — Visakhapatnam, Kakinada, Amaravati, and Yerpedu-Srikalahasti — as well as in nearby industrial areas.
It will include 138 km of state highways and roads, 488 km of drinking water pipes, 47 km storm drains, 10 power substations and 281 km of power transmission and distribution lines.