26 October, 2017
"Bharatmala is the new umbrella programme for the highways sector that focuses on optimising efficiency of road traffic movement across the country by bridging critical infrastructure gaps".
It aims at improving connectivity in border and other areas.
He said Bharatmala will considerably improve India's rankings in the Logistic Performance Index and generate huge direct and indirect employment in construction activity. "The programme will help connect 550 districts through national highways, compared with around 300 districts at present", Gadkari said. Presently only six national corridors have in the country. In addition, Bharatmala Pariyojana phase -I also includes 10,000 kms of balance road works under NHDP, taking the total to 34,800 kms at an estimated cost of Rs 5, 35,000 crore.
On Tuesday, finance secretary Ashok Lavasa had noted that some government agencies had more appetite for spending, something that economic affairs secretary SC Garg had also said while announcing the possibility of higher capital expenditure by public sector companies and had gone to name NHAI as one of the entities planning to step up asset creating spend this year. With this, 70 - 80 percent of freight will move along national highway (NH) as against the 40 percent at present.
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.
As Bharatmala will require over Rs 5 lakh crore, the government has various fundraising plans under its sleeve.
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Around 26,200 km of economic corridors, 8,000 km of inter-corridors and around 7,500 km of feeder corridors have been identified under Bharatmala.
The government also approved the construction of 2,000 km of roads, along the eastern and western borders of the country to boost border roads and worldwide connectivity.
Bharatmala was proposed on the lines of Sagarmala in which a string of ports will be built in the Indian Ocean to protect maritime interests.
The Minister said apart from Rs 5,35,000 crore for the first phase, there is a requirement of Rs 1,57,324 crore for ongoing projects under various schemes, and thus, overall outlay will be Rs 6,92,324 crore over five years. And the rest of Rs 1.57 lakh crore will be spent on the construction of 48,877 km of roads by the state-run National Highway Authority of India (NHAI) and the ministry of road transport and highways.
The government will fund Bharatmala project through market borrowings, central road funds, monetising government-owned road assets, and budgetary allocationBharatmala project through market borrowings, central road funds, monetising government-owned road assets, and budgetary allocation.