State highways between Chennai and Kanyakumari set for a revamp

Asian Development Bank has sanctioned a low-interest loan for the project which emphasizes on sustainability, climate change resilience and road safety

With ADB as lead partner of the Union Government, ECEC is aimed at connecting the entire East Coast of India with the production networks of south, south-east, and east Asia | Credit: iStock

Transport connectivity and industrial development in the Chennai–Kanyakumari Industrial Corridor (CKIC) will get a boost with the Asian Development Bank (ADB) sanctioning a $484-million concessional loan for the purpose.

The Union Government and the ADB signed an agreement to this effect on Wednesday (June 16).

The project will upgrade about 590 kms of state highways, covering 23 of the 32 districts, between Chennai and Kanyakumari. Enhanced connectivity of industrial hubs with hinterland and ports will particularly help increase the participation of Indian manufacturing sector in global production networks and global value chains, thereby creating jobs for locals.

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In line with Strategy 2030, ADB’s long-term corporate strategy, the project emphasises on sustainability, climate change resilience and road safety elements. Seven-year contracts are provided for long-term maintenance of road projects. Climate change adaptation measures will be incorporated in highway upgrades, including improved drainage, raised road embankments in critical sections and resizing of bridges and culverts.

Also read: ADB approves $484 million loan for Chennai-Kanyakumari Industrial Corridor

The project will also strengthen road safety improvement programs through advanced technologies for road monitoring and enforcement. In addition, the project will help improve the planning capacity of Tamil Nadu’s Highways and Minor Ports Department.

Chennai–Kanyakumari Industrial Corridor (CKIC) is part of the East Coast Economic Corridor (ECEC) that stretches from West Bengal to Tamil Nadu. With ADB as lead partner of the Union Government, ECEC aims to connect the entire East Coast of India with the production networks of south, south-east, and east Asia.

The pact was inked by Rajat Kumar Mishra, Additional Secretary in the Department of Economic Affairs, and Takeo Konishi, Country Director for ADB in India. “The project is key to providing seamless road connectivity across industrial clusters, transport gateways and consumption centres, and help reduce logistics and production costs for CKIC’s targeted industries to boost their competitiveness,” Mishra said after signing the agreement.

“The project is part of the priority infrastructure projects identified for corridor development under the ADB-supported CKIC comprehensive development plan,” said Konishi. “The overall objective is to spur industrial transformation through provisioning of essential transport, energy and urban infrastructure for holistic development of industrial growth centres,” Mishra added.

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