Bharatmala will provide NH linkage to 550 districts. Highways works worth Rs 8 lakh crore are scheduled to begin before the end of 2018 under the Bharatmala Pariyojana according to an announcement by the Minister of Road Transport and Highways, Shipping, Water Resources, River Development Gangaram Rejuvenation recently. Bharatmala is a new umbrella programme for the highways sector that focuses on optimizing efficiency of road traffic movement across the country by bridging critical infrastructure gaps.Bharatmala will be a major drive for economic growth in the country, and help realise the Prime Minister's vision of a New India. The programme has been designed to bridge the gaps in the existing highways infrastructure so as to make the movement of man and material more efficient. Special attention has been paid to fulfill the connectivity needs of backward and tribal areas, areas of economic activity, places of religious and tourist interest, border areas, coastal areas and trade routes with neighbouring countries under the programme.
Bharatmala will give the country 50 national corridors as opposed to the 6 at present. With this, 70-80 percent of freight will move along NH as against the 40 percent at present. The programme will help to connect 550 Districts in the country through NH linkages. Currently, only around 300 Districts have NH linkages. Bharatmala will also have a positive impact on the Logistic Performance Index(LPI) of the country. Apart from this, the Minister said the programme will also help generate a large number of direct and indirect employment in the construction activity, the development of highways amenities and also as part of the enhanced economic activity in different parts of the country that will result from better road connectivity.
A total of around 24,800 kms are being considered in Phase 1 of Bharatmala. In addition, Bharatmala Pariyojana phase - 1 also includes 10,000 kms of balance road under NHDP, taking the total to 34,800 kms at an estimated cost of Rs. 5,35,000 crore. Bharatmala Phase 1 is to be implemented over five years period, i.e,2017-2018 to 2021-2022.Components of Phase 1 and estimated expenditure are as follows.
Bharatmala envisages improving the efficiency of the National Corridors(golden - quadrilateral and NS - EW corridor) by decongesting it's choke points through lane expansion, construction of ring roads, by passes/ elevated corridors and logistics parks at identified points. Around 5000 kms of the National Corridor will be taken up in Phase 1 of Bharatmala at an estimated cost of Rs. 1 lakh crore.
The programme has Identified around 26,200 kms of economic corridors or roots that have heavy freight traffic, of which 9000 kms are being taken up for development in phase - 1 at an estimated cost of Rs. 1,20,000 crore. It is planned to develop these corridors end to end to ensure seamless and speedy travel and uniformity in standards. Besides this, around 8,000 kms of Inter-Corridors and around 7,500 km of Feeder Corridors have also been identified under Bharatmala, of which around 6,000 km will be developed in Phase - 1 at an estimated cost of Rs. 80,000 crore. Stretches of roads connecting more than two corridors are classified as Inter- Corridors routes, while other routes connecting to 1 or 2 corridors are termed as Feeder-Corridors. These corridors will be developed so as to address the infrastructure asymmetry that exists at many places.
Bharatmala also envisages building 3,300 kms of Border Roads of strategic importance along international boundaries and 2,000 km of International Connectivity roads to promote trade with Nepal, Bhutan, Bangladesh and Myanmar. Out of this around 2000 km will be taken up under Phase 1 at an estimated cost of Rs. 25,000 crore.
In addition to the above, around 2100 km of coastal roads and 2,000 km of Port connectivity roads have been identified under Bharatmala of which 2,000 kms are being taken up under Phase 1 at an estimated cost of Rs. 20,000 crore. About 1900 km of stretches have been identified for development of green-field express highways of which around 800 kms will be taken up under Phase 1 of the programme at an estimated cost of 40,000 crore. The 10,000 km of balance road work under NHDP will be completed at a cost of Rs. 1,50,000 crore.
In addition to Rs. 5,35,000 crore for Bharatmala Phase 1, there is a requirement of Rs. 1,57,324 crore for ongoing schemes like NH(O), SARDP-NE, EAP and LWE under implementation in the Highways Sector. Thus, the overall outlay for Bharatmala and all existing schemes put together will be Rs. 6,92,324 crore over a period of 5 years.
Gross Budgetary Support for the Bharatmala programme and existing schemes from 2017-2018 to 2021-2022 will be restricted to Rs. 2,370,24 crore from Central Road Fund(CRF), Rs. 59,973 crore as Budgetary support, Rs. 34,000 crore from expected monetization through Tolling, Operation Maintenance And Transfer (TOT) route and Rs. 46,048 crore collected as Toll - Permanent - Bridge - Fee - Fund( PBFF) by NHAI. A total of around 600 projects have been identified across the components for Bharatmala.
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