ADB has approved a $484 million loan to improve transport connectivity and road maintenance in the Chennai-Kanyakumari Industrial Corridor (CKIC) in Tamil Nadu, according to official sources.
Sources told that it is the second tranche of loan for the development of the road. The project will upgrade about 590 kilometers of State highways in the CKIC influence areas. Climate change adaptation measures will be incorporated in the upgrades, including improved drainage, raised road embankments in critical sections, and resizing of bridges and culverts. The project will strengthen road safety programmes through advanced technologies for monitoring. In addition, project will support improved planning capacity of the State Highways and Minor Ports Department.
The project, which is likely to generate more than 4.7 million additional jobs driven by annual manufacturing output of $222 billion, is taking shape with the State strengthening the power infrastructure and resolving constraints in evacuation of renewable energy from districts in the southern CKIC.
The ADB has already provided $645 million loan, which will help in establishing the extra-high-voltage (765 kV) transmission link between Virudhunagar and Coimbatore to transfer the expected added generation capacity of 9,000 MW by 2025 in the southern CKIC to Coimbatore, which is a major industrial centre.
According to the ADB, the CKIC is part of India’s East Coast Economic Corridor, which stretches from West Bengal to Tamil Nadu and connects the country to the production networks of Southeast and East Asia. Tamil Nadu has a strong economy, too, with several manufacturing industries, including automobiles, engineering, pharmaceuticals, garments, and aerospace. However, the south and central areas of the State, which are away from current industrial hubs around Chennai, need development and better connectivity for balanced and inclusive growth.
“We are coming up with a furniture park in the area and the detailed project report is being prepared,” said sources. It is learnt that the government is planning to come up with a food park in Thoothkudi and Theni districts, besides a textile park in Virudhunagar.
The CKIC will have Madurai-Virudhnagar-Dindigul-Theni and Thoothkudi-Tirunelveli nodes which will require an investment of nearly `91,000 crore. The entire project has an investment requirement of $43.19 billion (`2,81,000 crore). The corridor influence area will cover 23 districts, accounting for 64 per cent of the total State area and 70 per cent of the total population.
“The development of the CKIC is part of ADB’s commitment to the Government of India to stimulate growth in industrial corridors by linking industrial growth centres and ports hinterland along the coastline and integrating regional value chains,” Kanzo Nakai, ADB’s principal transport specialist for South Asia, said. “It aims to increase the manufacturing industry’s participation in production networks and global value chains, as well as create jobs along the corridor,” he added.