Budget 2021: Mega infra, fisheries push for poll-bound Tamil Nadu

Ahead of the upcoming Assembly polls in the State, Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman on Monday announced a slew of projects, including 3,500 km National Highways project in the State at Rs 1.03 lakh crore and sanctioned Rs 63,246 crore for the 118.9 km Chennai Metro Rail Phase-II project.
 Illustration by Varghese Kallada
Illustration by Varghese Kallada

Chennai

In her Budget speech, Sitharaman said that further augment road infrastructure, more economic corridors are being planned. The projects include Madurai-Kollam corridor and Chittoor-Thatchur (Tiruvallur), which will commence next year. She said that the construction work on 278 km Bengaluru-Chennai Expressway would begin this financial year. 
She also announced that the contract would be awarded for the controversial Chennai-Salem expressway project. As part of 1,100 km of National Highway works in at an investment of Rs 65,000 crores, she said that 600 km section of Mumbai-Kanniyakumari corridor in Kerala would be built. 
Sources in the Metro Rail said that the original cost of the phase-II project was nearly up to Rs 88,000 crore but it was brought down to Rs 63,246 crore after the Centre asked to cut down the cost.
In fisheries, Sitharaman proposed substantial investments in the development of modern fishing harbours and fish landing centres. 
"To start with, five major fishing harbours – Chennai, Kochi, Visakhapatnam, Paradip and Petuaghat – will be developed as hubs of economic activity. Seaweed farming is an emerging sector with the potential to transform the lives of coastal communities. It will provide large scale employment and additional incomes. To promote seaweed cultivation, I propose a Multipurpose Seaweed Park to be established in Tamil Nadu,” she said. 
Meanwhile, farmers here expressed their shock and disappointment with the Budget as there was no mention of loan waiver which they had been waiting for years and suspected that the Budget intended to help the private firm and not the farmers.

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