The proposal for India-Sri Lanka Road Connectivity is in the conceptual stage and no time line has been set for commencement of work on the project, said Minister of State for Road Transport & Highways Pon. Radhakrishnan in a written reply to a question in the Rajya Sabha.
Called modern “Ram Setu” or “Hanuman Bridge”, the stretch of low-lying banks that connect India to Sri Lanka across the Palk Strait bring back part of Ramayana lore. Legend goes that Lord Ram built this bridge with the assistance of Hanuman’s monkey army, walked into Lanka to rescue his consort Sita from King Ravana.
The building of a new causeway across the 30 km of water between Dhanushkodi near Rameswaram in Tamil Nadu and Talaimannar in northern Sri Lanka was one of the priority projects for Prime Minister Narendra Modi since China’s “one belt, one road” initiative integrating the Eurasian land mass has covered all of India’s neighbours.
Modi has told the Sri Lankan parliament in March this year to “build a bridge” to Lanka. Transport Minister Nitin Gadkari said that the Asian Development Bank was ready to provide funding for the $5 billion project. Once built, the Hanuman Bridge would connect the road and rail networks in both countries and ease the flow of goods and people across the Palk Strait, strengthening the security and strategic ties.