Following the inauguration of Agartala-Dhaka bus service and signing of the Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Nepal motor vehicle agreement, the Centre is also looking at connecting India and Sri-Lanka, Union minister for road transport and highways Nitin Gadkari said, DNA India reported.
The road connectivity, built across Palk Strait, could possibly a combination of a sea-bridge and underwater tunnel. The underwater tunnel will also allow movement of ships through it.
“The distance between Dhanushkodi in Rameswaram and the Sri Lankan boundary is about 23 kms. A sea-bridge would help in increasing the trans-SAARC road and transport network,” said Gadkari. Dhanushkodi is situated south-east of Pamban town and around 29kms away is Talaimannar in Sri Lanka, the town closest to the Indian land border.
A proposal for providing road and rail link bridging the divide across Palk Strait has been submitted to the Asian Development Bank (ADB), for a pre-feasibility study and subsequent financing. Currently, the missing link of narrow corridor of about 23 kms is serviced through makeshift ferry service transport. “At current estimates, the project would cost us Rs.23,000 crore,” Gadkari added. Along with the India — Sri Lanka road link, the Centre is also looking to connect north-east to Thailand via Mynmar.