India’s priority is investment by Japanese business in infrastructure projects, says Manmohan Singh
Japan has said it will soon announce funding for the multi-billion dollar Chennai-Bangalore Industrial Corridor (CBIC), the third mega project that will be quarter-backed by Tokyo. The other two projects that Japan is backing are the Delhi-Mumbai Industrial Corridor (DMIC) and the Dedicated Freight Corridor (DFC).
The announcement of the CBIC project has led to considerable enthusiasm among most south Indian states with Andhra Pradesh wanting its extension to Krishnapatnam port and Karnataka asking for the inclusion of Chitradurga with the State government planning to set up a manufacturing hub between Chitradurga and Tumkur. Kerala is the only south Indian State which has so far not expressed a desire to be included in the project, according to government sources.
The feasibility study for the CBIC is likely to be financed from a 184 billion yen Official Development Assistance (ODA) from Japan which will also fund the second phase of the DFC.
This was conveyed by Japanese Prime Minister Yosihiko Noda during his second meeting in as many days with Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on the sidelines of the Association of South East Asian Nations (ASEAN) summit and related meetings with its dialogue partners, including India.
New Delhi is putting immense faith in CBIC, heralding a renewed round of industrialisation in the south, with T. K. A. Nair, Adviser to Dr. Singh, regularly reviewing its progress.
The project was first made public during the India-Japan annual summit in 2010.
The project will initially focus on Phase-II of the Chennai Outer Ring Road, Chennai-Bangalore Expressway, modernisation of airports in Chennai, Bangalore and Sriperumbudur and ports in Chennai and Ennore, in addition to a high-speed rail link between Chennai, Bangalore and the Avadi rail link.
Simultaneously, State governments and the Centre will deliberate on easing customs procedures and enhanced use of IT and automation.
According to official sources, the Prime Minister welcomed the ongoing projects under the ODA but emphasised that India’s priority was investment by Japanese business in infrastructure projects such as the Delhi Metro which other cities wanted to emulate. This is the same message he gave to Chinese Prime Minister Wen Jiabao on Monday.
After Dr. Singh’s visit was put off, the two countries on November 16 signed an MoU on rare earths and inked a pact on social security. The pact of rare earths too was first publicly aired during the 2010 summit.
It is a fall-out of tensions between Japan and China which led to Beijing clamping down on rare earth exports to Tokyo.