Kuala Lumpur, Dec. 13: The Golden Quad could soon get a spanking new rival: a $3-billion freeway linking Calcutta with Delhi and Delhi with Bhopal and on to Bangalore.
Malaysia today said it was interested in building a toll-paying freeway network in India that will provide a direct link between major metros by bypassing small towns.
The proposal was placed before Prime Minister Manmohan Singh by Malaysian minister for works Samy Vellu at an hour-long meeting today.
“We have given Dr Singh a detailed map showing our routes and details of the proposal which we expect will cost up to $3 billion. We are extremely serious about this,” Vellu, the longest-serving minister in the Malaysian government, told The Telegraph.
If cleared, the freeway between Delhi and Calcutta is expected to reduce trucking time to an estimated 12 hours, though it will eat up stretches of farmland between the cities.
Malaysian state construction agency Kazaa will handle the project. Malay firms that will lay the road will bring in 70 per cent of the funds ($2.1 billion).
“We want India to give the balance 30 per cent as grant for the project,” Vellu, leader of the Malaysian Indian Congress, said.
Malaysia is also keen to participate in port projects that could link up to the freeway. “Our experience is India takes time in taking a decision, but once that is done they are the best partners' they are also very good paymasters.”
Analysts said that with Indian trucking expanding at over 20 per cent annually, both the freeway and the golden quadrilateral would have enough traffic.
Vellu, who counts former Prime Ministers Indira Gandhi, Rajiv Gandhi and I.K. Gujral among his personal friends, said Malaysia had also bagged the contract to build the tallest building in New Delhi, the municipal building. It will also set up an international convention centre in the capital.