The government is committed to providing jobs to at least 50 lakh people in highways and shipping sectors where it plans to undertake big projects worth Rs 6 lakh crore, Union minister Nitin Gadkari said on Thursday.
Besides, the government is working towards a Rs 22,000-crore project to provide connectivity between India and Sri Lanka for which the Asian Development Bank has expressed willingness to provide funding, he said.
"We have decided to do work worth Rs 5 lakh crore in road sector and 1 lakh crore in shipping sector. In the next five years we will ensure employment to at least 50 lakh youth in the country," Gadkari said on the sidelines of a conference on Highways Equipment here.
Since last year both the sectors have started looking up and the Modi government has already awarded projects worth Rs 1 lakh crore, said the Minister for Road Transport and Highways.
Besides overhauling these sectors, the government has been trying to improve connectivity with neighbouring nations on high priority basis, he said.
After signing pacts with Bangladesh, Bhutan and Nepal for seamless flow of traffic, another project for providing connectivity with Sri Lanka is on the anvil, he added.
"ADB (Asian Development Bank) is ready to finance a Rs 22,000 crore project for providing connectivity to neighbouring Sri Lanka. I had a discussion with the Vice President of ADB and they are ready to finance," Gadkari said.
He said there is a missing link of narrow corridor of about 22 km in connectivity to Sri Lanka from Rameshwaram which is presently being serviced through makeshift ferry service arrangements.
"We are working on the project and as soon as it is completed, Trans Asia Road and transport network could be extended to Sri Lanka," Gadkari said.
The proposed project will be a combination of bridge and underwater tunnel which will allow unhindered movement of ships through it, he said.
India would soon enter into another landmark motor pact with Myanmar and Thailand by year-end, on the lines of the BBIN signed with three other SAARC nations, he added.
Work on USD 8 billion road connectivity projects among Bangladesh, Bhutan, India and Nepal (BBIN) under Motor Vehicle Agreement (MVA) will be completed within two years, he said.
The BBIN pact was signed last month during Gadkari's visit to Bhutan.