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One of the highlights of Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman’s Budget speech on Monday was investments in Roads and Highways infrastructure. To further augment road infrastructure, more economic corridors are planned that includes 3,500 km of National Highway works in Tamil Nadu at an investment of Rs 1.03 lakh crore. These include Madurai-Kollam corridor, Chittoor-Thatchur corridor. Finance minister said the construction will start next year.

Also, 1,100 km of National Highway works in Kerala at an investment of Rs 65,000 crore is planned, including 600 km section of Mumbai-Kanyakumari corridor in Kerala. FM said 675 km of highway works in West Bengal is planned at a cost of Rs 25,000 crore including upgradation of existing road-Kolkata –Siliguri.

National Highway works of around Rs 19,000 crore are currently in progress in Assam. Further works of more than Rs 34,000 crore covering more than 1300 kms of National Highways will be undertaken in the State in the coming three years, she added.

Infrastructure experts say that this announcement will boost the infrastructure sector and also create more jobs.

More than 13,000 km length of roads, at a cost of Rs 3.3 lakh crore, has already been awarded under the Rs 5.35 lakh crore Bharatmala Pariyojana project, of which 3,800 kms have been constructed. By March 2022, we would be awarding another 8,500 kms and complete an additional 11,000 kms of national highway corridors, the finance minister pointed out.

Metro project gets a further boost

A total of 702 km of conventional metro is operational and another 1,016 km of metro and RRTS is under construction in 27 cities. Two new technologies – ‘MetroLite’ and ‘MetroNeo’ will be deployed to provide metro rail systems at much lesser cost with same experience, convenience and safety in Tier-2 cities and peripheral areas of Tier-1 cities.

“Central counterpart funding will be provided to Kochi Metro Railway Phase-II of 11.5 km at a cost of Rs 1957.05 crore. Chennai Metro Railway Phase-II of 118.9 km at a cost of Rs 63,246 crore. Bengaluru Metro Railway Project Phase 2A and 2B of 58.19 km at a cost of Rs 14,788 crore. Nagpur Metro Rail Project Phase-II and Nashik Metro at a cost of Rs 5,976 crore and Rs 2,092 crore, respectively,” she said in the Budget speech.

Finance minister also said that major Ports will be moving from managing their operational services on their own to a model where a private partner will manage it for them. For the purpose, 7 projects worth more than Rs 2,000 crore will be offered by the major Ports on Public Private Partnership mode in FY21-22.

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