Published: Thu, October 26, 2017
World Media | By Shelia Harmon

First highway project under Bharatmala by 2018-end : Gadkari

First highway project under Bharatmala by 2018-end : Gadkari

The Rs 6.92 lakh crore highway projects, approved by the Union Cabinet, will generate 14.2 crore mandays of jobs and also include Bharatmala project, an umbrella programme for roads under which 34,800 km of highways will be constructed at a cost of Rs 5.35 lakh crore, the Government said. 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.

This in turn would help reduce India's supply chain cost to 6% from the present levels of 18%, said Gadkari, who heads the ministry for road transport, highways and shipping, and water resources, river development and Ganga rejuvenation. It will include 44 economic corridors that will connect border areas and improve port and coastal connectivity.

Taking forward its commitment to providing more efficient transportation, the government has debottlenecked the roads sector and significantly stepped up the highway development and road building programme.

He added that the government's marque Bharatmala scheme will create 100 million man-days of jobs during the construction phase and 22 million permanent jobs due to the increased economic activity triggered by it.

Gadkari said the programme envisages improving the efficiency of the National Corridor (Golden Quadrilateral and North South-East West Corridor) by decongesting choke points through lane expansion, construction of ring roads, bypasses/elevated corridors and logistics parks at identified points. Presently only six national corridors have in the country.

Mint reported on 12 September that the government planned to fund large infrastructure projects by raising money in tranches of Rs10,000 crore by selling 10-year bonds at a coupon of 7.25-7.75%.

There will be 9,000 km of economic corridors, inter-corridor and feeder routes (6,000 km), national corridors efficiency improvement (5,000 km), border roads and worldwide connectivity (2,000 km), coastal roads and port connectivity (2,000 km) and greenfield expressways (800 km) in the first phase. Seventy to 80 per cent of freight will move along the national highways against 40 per cent at present.

As Bharatmala will require over Rs 5 lakh crore, the government has various fundraising plans under its sleeve. The 49 km corridor will provide a direct link to NH-10 (towards Rohtak) and NH-8 (towards Gurgaon) for vehicles entering the city from Karnal.

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.

A total of around 600 projects have been identified across the components for Bharatmala.

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