Infrastructure News This Week #18 | NF World Latest News

Wayanad Rod Project

Wayanad Tunnel Road | India’s 1st Hydrogen Train | Bengaluru-Chennai Expressway | NHAI-Budget 2023 | Infrastructure Development Survey – Infrastructure News this week

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Kerala Government Proceeds with Controversial Wayanad Tunnel Road Project

The Kerala government is moving ahead with the proposed Wayanad tunnel road project, despite opposition from environmentalists.

The 6.8 km tunnel, which would run between Anakampoyil in Kozhikode and Meppadi in Wayanad, is the country’s third-longest underpass.

The Konkan Railway Corporation Limited was hired to complete the Rs 900 crore project, and the survey for the tunnel construction began in September 2020.

The tunnel road is an alternate solution to the congested and frequently obstructed Thamarasserry ghat road, and is expected to relieve traffic congestion on the Wayanad ghat road and reduce travel time between Kozhikode and Bengaluru.

The proposed tunnel road is also expected to boost the tourism, industry and agrarian sectors in the region.

However, environmentalists have raised concerns over the tunnel project as it passes through an ecologically sensitive zone of the Western Ghats.

India to Get its First Hydrogen Train by 2023: Rail Minister Announces

Railway Minister Ashwini Vaishnaw announced on Wednesday that India would have its first hydrogen-powered train by the end of 2023, which will be entirely manufactured in the country.

The train will initially be operated on heritage circuits such as Kalka-Shimla and later expanded to other locations.

Vaishnaw also spoke about the development of Vande Metro, a mini version of the Vande Bharat Express trains, designed to provide comfort for people commuting to and from big cities for work or leisure.

The design and production of Vande Metro are expected to be completed this year, with a ramp-up of production planned for the next financial year.

This comes after Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman allocated a record-high Rs 2.4 lakh crore for the Indian Railways in the Union Budget 2023-24, which is 9 times more than the allocation made in 2013-14.

The capital outlay will support the country’s 800 crore passengers and help the railway achieve its potential.

Bengaluru-Chennai Expressway to be completed by March 2024, Reducing Travel Time by 2-3 Hours

Union Minister Nitin Gadkari has announced that the construction of the Bengaluru-Chennai Expressway will soon begin.

The 262 km long expressway will pass through three states, Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh and Tamil Nadu, at a cost of over Rs 16,730 crore.

The expressway is expected to reduce the travel time between Bengaluru and Chennai by 2-3 hours, making it a faster and more efficient option for vehicle operators.

Gadkari emphasized the benefits of the expressway, including reduced fuel consumption, strengthened economic activities in Bengaluru and Chennai, and improved connectivity between industrial hubs in Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh to the Chennai Port.

The Bengaluru-Chennai Expressway is part of the 26 new green expressways being built across the country, and Prime Minister Narendra Modi laid the foundation for the project in May 2022.

The expressway will start from Hoskote on the outskirts of Bengaluru and pass through several towns, including Malur, Bangarpet, Kolar Gold Fields, Palamaner, Chittoor, and Ranipet, before reaching its destination at Sriperumbudur in the Kanchipuram district of Tamil Nadu.

The National Highway Authority of India has divided the project into three phases of construction. Gadkari aims to complete the project by March 2024 and has plans to invite either Prime Minister Narendra Modi or President Droupadi Murmu for the inauguration.

Union Budget 2023-24 Increases Allocation to National Highways Authority of India

The Indian government is investing heavily in infrastructure, as evidenced by the allocation of increased funds to the National Highways Authority of India (NHAI) for the 2023-24 fiscal year.

The Finance Minister, Nirmala Sitharaman, has set aside Rs 1.62 lakh crore for the NHAI, up from last year’s revised allocation of Rs 1.42 lakh crore.

The highways sector as a whole will receive an allocation of Rs 2.70 lakh crore, up from the original allocation of Rs 1.99 lakh crore in the previous fiscal year, which was later revised to Rs 2.17 lakh crore.

NHAI and the National Highways and Infrastructure Development Corporation are the main organizations responsible for building national highways and expressways in India.

India’s Dedicated Support to Infrastructure Development Boosts Economy: Economic Survey 2023

The Economic Survey 2022-23 highlights India’s ability to navigate the current global economic challenges due to the government’s emphasis on infrastructure creation and strong macroeconomic fundamentals.

The survey highlights the importance of increasing investment in physical and digital connectivity, with a renewed focus on traditional infrastructure sectors such as roads and railways and the encouragement of sectors like civil aviation and inland water transport.

According to the survey, foreign direct investment in India remains steady, with a heightened interest from investors to include the country in their supply chain diversification.

The PM Gati Shakti and National Logistics Policy are expected to significantly improve India’s competitiveness in terms of cost and exports.

The survey reports significant infrastructure expansion in the past eight years, particularly in the upgrading of ports and airports.

While private sector capital expenditure has been subdued, the government has increased its capital expenditure target for 2022-23 by 35.4% to ₹7.5 lakh crore, with 67% of the budget spent from April to December 2022.

This steady increase in public capital expenditure is supporting economic growth and laying the foundation for future growth as capital assets enhance economic efficiency and potential growth.

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