The Union Minister of Road Transport and Highways, Shipping, Water Resources, River Development and Ganga Rejuvenation Shri Nitin Gadkari has said that the Centre has approved projects of value of more than one Lakh crore rupees for Tamil Nadu.
These projects will cover the Highways, Shipping and Port and for finding a permanent solution to the irrigation and drinking water requirements of the state.
The Minister was addressing a joint press conference with Tamil Nadu Chief Minister Shri Edappadi K. Palaniswami after a review meeting of Central and State government.
On the Shipping front, the Minister said Tamil Nadu is only state with three major ports and said these would be enhanced to facilitate exports and industrialisation, and value addition under the Sagarmala programme.
Coal movement from Orissa through Paradip to Ennore and Tuticorin will significantly reduce the logistics cost of coal. He hoped to improve the coal handling productivity in all three ports. Coastal movement of petroleum products, LPG and automobiles is the lifeline of the industry of Tamil Nadu. Referring to Tuticorin port, shri Gadkari said the depth is to be increased from the present 14m to 16.5 meters at a cost of Rs.3000 crore rupees and this would help the port to handle 1,30,000 tonnage vessels from the present capacity of 60,000 tonnage ships. This would reduce the logistic cost by 30 percent.
He said coastal movement of containers from Chennai to Puducherry will commence soon and this would reduce the congestion on the road.
The Minister said a Passenger ferry services between Kanyakumari and Rameshwaram and Kanyakumari and Thiruvananthapuram are being planned. He urged private operators to come forward and participate in the projects, adding that the centre would provide full support.
Coastal berths are being built at Cuddalore at a cost of Rs 115 crore and similar facilities are coming at Chennai and Tuticorin ports.
The Minister said that as the Prime Minister has assured a doubling of income of farmers by 2022, the present NDA government has taken up the interlinking of river projects and has given priority to the water scare southern states. The Minister said Water resources ministry has therefore decided on transfer of surplus Godavari river waters to the Cauvery via the Krishna and Pennar Rivers. He said a meeting of the Chief Ministers of Andhra Pradesh, Telengana, Kerala and Tamil Nadu will be convened soon to discuss the project. Initially about 300tmc of water is proposed to be lifted from Godavari river upstream of Pollavaram project and would be released into the Nagarjuna Sagar Dam on River Krishna. Further the water would be taken from Krishna upto Somasilam project on river Pennar and from there to Grand Annaicut on the Cauvery.