EPS gets a bit of what he wanted: NH, textile parks, metro rail expansion

In his memo to PM last month, Palaniswami had raised a host of demands and the FM seems to have obliged the poll ally

Edappadi Palaniswami, ₹20 lakh crore, stimulus package, farmers, Lockdown, COVID-`19
Tamil Nadu Chief Minister E Palaniswami has recently implemented several schemes which the DMK had announced.

On January 19, Tamil Nadu Chief Minister Edappadi K Palaniswami met Prime Minister Narendra Modi and submitted a memorandum of demands that could be included in the Budget announcements. So, when Finance Minister Sitharaman presented her Budget on Monday (February 1), some of these demands found a good deal of reference in her speech.

The Budget has provided some of the development projects in the poll-bound Tamil Nadu. These range from laying new highway roads to expansion of metro rail network and setting up of textile parks.

Sitharaman proposed that the Centre will set up seven textile parks across the country in the next three years. EPS’ memorandum had demanded two mega textile parks in the state.

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Also read: BJP will fight Tamil Nadu assembly elections with AIADMK: Nadda

“The state has identified three suitable sites for setting up these parks. The state will provide around 1,000 acres with requisite infrastructure such as uninterrupted power supply, water, connectivity in addition to single window facilitation for clearances,” the memorandum had said.

Tamil Nadu, as per Budget proposals, will have 3,500-km roads under the NHAI worth ₹1.03 lakh crore. The road project is proposed to be carried out between Madurai and Kollam, with construction beginning next year.

EPS wanted early approval of phase-II of Metro Rail Project under the 50:50 equity model. In an apparent support, the FM announced that about 118.9 km long rail network worth ₹63,246 crore will be taken up this year under public private partnership. The Prime Minister is expected to visit Tamil Nadu on February 14 to flag off the project.

The state government had demanded a fishing harbour at Vellapallam in Nagapattinam district. But the finance minister announced that a fishing harbour will come up in Chennai, a proposal that is likely to stoke controversy as there have been protests against such a project in the city.

The finance minister, however, promised that fish landing centres will be developed on the banks of major rivers. The Budget has also proposed a multipurpose seaweed park in the state at a cost of ₹3,700 crore.

Also read: What’s delaying Tamil Nadu’s smart city projects?

The Congress on Monday (February 1) criticised Sitharaman for announcing road projects only for states going to the polls. The party sought to know if the Budget is “economy’s revival document or voter wooing ticket.”

“The FM, not surprisingly, announces special road projects plus allocation for Kerala, West Bengal & Assam. Is the budget economy revival document or voter wooing ticket? Hope promises made to Kerala, WB & Assam do not meet the same fate of Bihar Special Package & Free Vaccine for All!!,” Congress leader Jaiveer Shergill tweeted.

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