A Rs 5.35 lakh crore garland of roads to adorn India

26 October, 2017, 00:16 | Author: Essie Rivera
  • Wikimedia Commons

The Union Cabinet on Tuesday nodded in approval for road building projects worth Rs. 7 lakh crore, including the ambitious "Bharatmala programme" launched by Prime Minister Narendra Modi's Government.

Aside from providing a boost to the country's infrastructure, the project aims to set in motion economic activity as well as generate as many as 32 crore man days throughout the country by 2022. The project will be divided into two parts - Rs 5.35 lakh crore investments will be made under Bharatmala Pariyojana scheme to construct 34,800 km of roads. The program will cover 83,677 km of roads and will involve a capital expenditure of Rs 6.92 lakhs crore over the next 5 years. "India will have world-class roads on par with the U.S. and Germany and special emphasis has been accorded to providing quality roads on borders adjoining China and Pakistan, besides far-flung tribal areas", he said.

"Bharatmala will give the country 50 national corridors, compared with six at present".

He said 44 economic corridors being created with thrust on job creation.

The transport and highways ministry has sought a restoration of the allocation and has told the finance ministry that major road works are usually undertaken during October-March after the rainy season gets over.

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Under Bharatmala, the Road Transport and Highways ministry will construct 9,000 km of economic corridors across the country. A total of around 600 projects have been identified across the components for Bharatmala which is a new umbrella programme for the highways sector that focuses on optimising the efficiency of road traffic movement across the country by bridging critical infrastructure gaps. Seventy to 80 per cent of freight will move along the national highways against 40 per cent at present. Bharatmala Phase I - is to be implemented over a five years period of 2017-18 to 2021-22.

"For the highway construction programme, Rs 2.09 lakh will come from market borrowing, Rs 1.06 lakh crore is expected to come through private investment and Rs 2.19 lakh crore will come from the central road fund and through toll operate transfer model", Lavasa said.

Bharatmala is likely to result in increasing average vehicular speed by 20-25 percent, reducing supply chain costs by 5 to 6 percent and besides giving impetus to production and exports.

"The government's decision to enhance spending in roads and highways, including port connectivity and border and cross-border roads, will have a big multiplier impact on economic growth", Chandrajit Banerjee, director general of the CII, said.

For projects not covered under the Bharatmala programme, Rs97,000 crore will be provided by the CRF and Rs59,000 crore will be provided as gross budgetary support.


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