Budget 2021: Sitharaman’s ₹225k crore infra push for 4 poll-bound states

Tamil Nadu, West Bengal, Kerala and Assam are the major states going to polls in April-May and the budget comes at the time of farmers agitating at Delhi bor-ders against the new farm bills

People watch finance minister Nirmala Sitharaman presenting Union Budget 2021-21 on television sets, at an electronics store in Prayagraj on Monday. (PTI)

Finance minister Nirmala Sitharaman’s 2021 budget had special focus on the four election-bound states with allocation of ₹225,000 crore for infrastructure projects in these states.

Tamil Nadu, West Bengal, Kerala and Assam are the major states going to polls in April-May this year and the budget comes at the time of farmers agitating at Delhi borders against the three farm bills passed in the monsoon session of Parliament in 2020.

Of these states, Sitharaman announced maximum ₹1.03 lakh crore for Tamil Nadu, where this money would be used in the next five years for infrastructure. The projects for which money will be used includes a Madurai-Kollam corridor and Chittoor-Thatchur corridor which connects Tamil Nadu’s districts with neighbouring states of Kerala and Andhra Pradesh.

The construction of the controversial Chennai -Salem corridor of 277 km expressway will start in 2021-22. The project has been opposed by farmers since its announcement in 2018 but the Supreme Court, in December 2020, upheld the land acquisition notifications.

The 278 km Bengaluru-Chennai expressway will also be initiated in the current financial year and construction will begin in 2021-22, the document showed. Sitharaman said coastal Tamil Nadu will also benefit from a multipurpose seaweed park proposed to be established to “promote seaweed cultivation” and “provide large scale employment and additional incomes.”

Coastal city of Chennai is also among the five major fishing harbours, announced across the country, to be developed as a hub of economic activity. “I am proposing substantial investments in the development of modern fishing harbours and fish landing centres,” said Sitharaman. The other harbours will be in Kochi, Visakhapatnam, Paradip, and Petuaghat.

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