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Bridge, tunnel to connect with Sri Lanka: Gadkari

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New Delhi: Union minister Nitin Gadkari said on Wednesday that India will build a bridge as well as a tunnel under the sea in Palk Strait to connect to Sri Lanka.

A pact has been inked with Bangladesh, Bhutan and Nepal for the seamless flow of traffic and passenger vehicles, he added.

The 23-km long bridge over the Palk Strait is proposed to be built between Dhanushkodi in mainland India and Talaimannar in Sri Lanka. A proposal has been submitted to the Asian Development Bank in June 2015 on the project.

“The Asian Development Bank is ready to fully finance a bridge project to connect Rameshwaram in Tamil Nadi to Sri Lanka. The India-Sri Lanka connectivity project’s cost is pegged at about Rs.24,000 crore,” the Road Transport and Highways Minister said in a statement in the Lok Sabha.

He said the union government had focused on enhancing regional cooperation.

“Subsequent to Prime Minister’s announcement of Act East policy, India is proactively engaged in building effective and credible links between South Asia and South East Asia through enhanced regional connectivity,” Gadkari said.

Gadkari said 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.

“About 110 km on the Imphal-Moreh (National Highway-39) route will be taken up for upgradation with loan from the ADB to connect neighbouring countries through the north- east,” he said.