On October 24, 2017, Union Cabinet chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi approved a mega plan to build thousands of kilometres of roads and highways across India over the next five years.
Salient Features of Centre’s Highway Development Plan:
As per the broad contours of the plan, 83677 km of roads, highways, green-field expressways and bridges will be constructed in a phased manner.
- 34800 km of highways will be constructed in the first phase of this plan which will be completed by year 2022. The first phase will entail an investment of nearly 7 lakh crore.
- 34,800 km of highways to be constructed under the first phase includes 24800 km of the Bharatmala Project at a cost Rs 5.35-lakh crore. Constructing 1837 km of greenfield expressways is also a part of this project.
- The first phase also includes construction of another 10000 km roads (at cost of Rs. 1.57 lakh crore) which is a part of the ongoing National Highway Development Project (NHDP) started in 1998 by NDA Government under Atal Bihari Vajpayee.
- Government expects to raise half of the funds for this project through debt market and private investments whereas rest would come from the Central Road Fund, highway toll and monetising highways which have been recently constructed.
- Besides improving speed of traffic flow on key corridors, this project will help in generating jobs which will eventually lift the economy.
Quick Facts about Bharatmala Project:
- Launched in – July 2017
- Undertaken by – Union Ministry of Road Transport & Highways
- Objective – To build highways through economic corridors centred around manufacturing hubs and improving road connectivity to border areas, coastal areas and ports.
Construction of Roads – Indian Scenario:
Construction of roads in India has been quite sluggish since year 2007.
- It is to be noted that owing to poor road conditions, a truck in India covers on an average 250-300 km daily as compared to 700-800 km in developed countries.
- Current Government under PM Narendra Modi has accorded high priority to this sector and has set an ambitious target of building almost 40 km of roads per day which is significantly higher than 2014 pace of 9 km/day.
- During last three fiscal years, overall allocation to the highways sector has increased from Rs 1.3 lakh crore to Rs 2.25 lakh crore marking a 73% hike.