Karunanidhi thanks PM for Rs.16 bn Chennai Expressway

January 8th, 2009 - 5:53 pm ICT by IANS  

Manmohan SinghChennai, Jan 8 (IANS) Chief Minister M. Karunanidhi on the sidelines of the Pravasi Bharatiya Divas Thursday thanked the prime minister for the Rs.16 billion (Rs.1,600 crore) Chennai Expressway which is being funded mostly by the central government. Prime Minister Manmohan Singh Thursday laid foundation for the expressway linking the northwest suburbs and the harbour here, which will be completed in 36 months.

“Though electoral promises usually come to nothing, this Rs.16 billion fly-over will be built thanks to the excellent centre-state relations cemented by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh,” Karunanidhi told reporters.

The chief minister also pressed for the central government’s active assistance in the completion of the stalled, controversial Sethusamudram Shipping Canal Project in the Palk Strait.

“Eminent leaders of Tamil Nadu, including late chief ministers Kamaraj, (C.N.) Anna (Durai), besides scholars, scientists and poets, have underlined the need for this project that will accord prosperity to the region and result in bridging the divide between us and the people of Sri Lanka,” Karunanidhi said.

“The Sri Lankan government and certain political parties in Tamil Nadu are needlessly placing impediments in the project’s progress for narrow political ends. We hope the central government overlooks these,” Karunanidhi added.

The Rs.24 billion canal project involves dredging the mythological Ram Setu, that is also geograpically known as Adam’s Bridge across the Palk Strait, to facilitate movement of ships.

While environmentalists have opposed the scheme saying it would damage the fragile ecological balance in the vicinity, economists have termed the project nonviable.

Launched in 2005, the Sethusamudram project has been challenged in the Supreme Court.

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