Gadkari promises to consider Vizag-Raipur freight corridor

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Union Minister for Roads, Highway and Shipping Nitin Gadkari on Saturday said the NDA Government was firm on implementing the ambitious Sagarmala Project with an investment of Rs. 15 lakh crore to reduce cost of logistics, and promised to consider Chief Minister N. Chandrababu Naidu’s request to sanction a dedicated freight corridor with six-lane road and a rail line between Visakhapatnam and Raipur.

He made a slew of announcements at a session on industrial corridors and improving logistics on the final day of the two-day CII Partnership Summit-cum-Sunrise Andhra Pradesh Investment meet here.

The session marked exchange of MoU between the State Government and the NHAI for improving road connectivity in Andhra Pradesh involving an investment of Rs. 75,000 crore and another between Capital Region Development Authority and NHAI to create a road network of 426 km in Amaravati area with an outlay of Rs. 23,430 crore.

MoU was also inked for running buses with renewable energy by Access Mobility Pvt. Ltd. Expressing satisfaction over pro-active policies of Mr. Naidu, Mr. Gadkari said of Rs. 15 lakh crore under Sagarmala, they would spend Rs. 4 lakh crore on port mechanisation.

He said they had already sanctioned Rs. 1 lakh crore to commence work on various projects.

Stating that this year all the State-owned ports had earned a profit of Rs. 7,000 crore, he said the surplus amount would be spent on modernisation projects.

Mr. Gadkari termed Visakhapatnam Port as a premier port and declared that the government was investing Rs. 6,000 crore to make it a world-class port.

First phase

Mr. Gadkari said the Centre would launch work on first phase of 796-km-long Buckingham Canal — a fresh water navigational canal between Kakinada in Andhra Pradesh to Villipuram in Tamil Nadu — after conclusion of elections in Uttar Pradesh and four other States.

He said Andhra Pradesh and the Centre had entered into a joint venture for reviving inland waterways at a cost of Rs. 2,000 crore and Visakhapatnam Port would be involved by floating a new special purpose vehicle.

Mr. Gadkari said the Visakhapatnam-Chennai Industrial Corridor and the East Coast Economic Corridor from Kolkata to Kanyakumari would benefit AP in many ways in getting connected to all corridors in the country.

Thanking Mr. Gadkari for his announcements, Mr. Chandrababu Naidu said Andhra Pradesh had emerged as the leading investment destination in India and his endeavour was to make it one among top 10 investment destinations in the world. He said lot of opportunities were available for investment in hydrocarbon, petroleum, defence, aerospace, agro-based products, livestock, minerals and aquaculture.

Among others, Secretary, Department of Industrial Policy & Promotion Ramesh Abhishek, Essar Shipping Ports Chief Executive Officer Rajiv Agarwal, Visakhapatnam Port Chairman M.T. Krishna Babu and ADB Country Deputy Director Leonardus Boenawan Sondjaja spoke.