Four states going to the polls in the next few months have received special attention in the Union Budget presented by Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman on Monday (February 1). The four states are West Bengal, Assam, Tamil Nadu, Kerala, which have received a massive infrastructure boost with Tamil Nadu alone attracting an investment of ₹1.03 lakh crore.
The FM has proposed highway works spread across 675 km in West Bengal worth ₹ 95,000 crore. Kerala will get ₹ 65,000 crore under the same head for stretches covering 1,100km. The BJP-ruled Assam will cover 1,300 km highway works over the next three years.
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The government proposes to spend ₹3,500 crore for such projects in Tamil Nadu — the NH 47 — from Thiruvananthapuram to Kanyakumari and from Nagercoil to Kavalkinaru. The Chennai-Kanyakumari Industrial Corridor (CKIC) is a part of the East Coast Economic Corridor (ECEC) and is envisaged along the coast of Tamil Nadu to leverage upon Tamil Nadu’s 1,000 km long coastline and operational ports. The CKIC covers an influence area enveloping 23 districts (13 on the coastline and 10 in the hinterland of 32 districts of Tamil Nadu). The area contributes 74 per cent to the state’s GSDP. Three trunk arterial roads — NH-7, NH-45 and SH-49 (East Coast Road) pass through the corridor linking north and south Tamil Nadu.
The Mumbai-Kanyakumari corridor covers five states – Maharashtra, Goa, Karnataka, Kerala and Tamil Nadu. The FM also said that 1,500 km of national highway work being planned in Kerala at a cost of ₹ 65,000 cr, including 600 km of Mumbai-Kanyakumari corridor.
The BJP will be fighting the Assembly polls due in April-May in alliance with the ruling AIADMK.
In West Bengal, where the BJP is locked in a fierce electoral battle with the Ruling Trinamool Congress led by Mamata Banerjee, the infrastructure development project also covers the 60-kmlong and 22-km wide Siliguri corridor, also known as the ‘Chicken’s Neck’, linking India’s north-eastern states with the rest of the country.
For Assam, the national highways works are worth ₹34,000 crore to be spent in the next three years.
The Finance Minister said more economic corridors are being planned and that -3500 km of NH works in Tamil Nadu are ongoing.