New Delhi, June 16 : The Asian Development Bank (ADB) and the Indian government on Wednesday signed an agreement for a $484 million loan to improve transport connectivity and facilitate industrial development in the Chennai-Kanyakumari Industrial Corridor (CKIC) in Tamil Nadu.
The CKIC is part of India's East Coast Economic Corridor (ECEC), which stretches from West Bengal to Tamil Nadu and connects India to the production networks of South, Southeast, and East Asia.
The ADB is the lead partner of the Indian government in developing the ECEC.
Additional Secretary, Economic Affairs, Rajat Kumar Mishra, signed the agreement for the Tamil Nadu Industrial Connectivity Project on behalf of India, while ADB's Country Director, India, Takeo Konishi, signed for the ADB.
"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.
"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." The project will upgrade about 590 km of state highways in the CKIC influence areas that cover 23 of the 32 districts between Chennai and Kanyakumari in Tamil Nadu.
Enhanced connectivity of industrial hubs with the hinterland and ports will particularly help increase the participation of Indian manufacturing in global production networks and global value chains, thereby, creating jobs along the corridor.
In line with Strategy 2030, ADB's long-term corporate strategy, the project emphasises 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.
The project will also strengthen road safety improvement programmes 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.