INDIA: Union Transport Minister Nitin Gadkari on Wednesday said India is planning to build a sea bridge and tunnel connecting Sri Lanka.
“The Asian Development Bank is ready to fully finance a bridge-building project connecting Rameshwaram to Sri Lanka. The project was also discussed by Prime Minister Narendra Modi with his counterpart during the latter’s recent visit,” the minister said in a suo motu statement in the Lok Sabha. India has inked a pact with Bangladesh, Bhutan and Nepal for seamless flow of traffic and passenger vehicles.
If the government is able to build a sea-bridge and tunnel to Sri Lanka, it will help promote connectivity in the South Asian region. The India-Sri Lanka connectivity project cost is pegged at about Rs 24,000 crore. A major milestone was the signing of the Bangladesh Bhutan India Nepal Motor Vehicles Agreement in Thimphu to facilitate seamless movement of passenger and cargo vehicles in the region, he said.
Once other agreements are operationalised, the dream of seamless movement of all types of vehicles between Saarc and Asean nations will become a reality and “I hope this will happen soon,” he said.
In order to fulfil the need to promote seamless road transportation and social and technical collaboration for closer regional economic cooperation, he said his ministry has taken the initiative for cross-border passenger transportation and several new bus services on many routes have been started between India, Bangladesh and Nepal.
These include: Delhi-Kathmandu, Varanasi-Kathmandu, Kolkata-Agartala via Dhaka and Guwahati-Shillong-Dhaka routes.
(Source: Deccan Herald)