Bharatmala will lower logistics costs to 6% from 18% now: Nitin Gadkari

by Garry Watts October 26, 2017, 0:16
Bharatmala will lower logistics costs to 6% from 18% now: Nitin Gadkari

A day after the Union Cabinet approved a mega package of highway projects including the ambitious Bharatmala, road transport and highways minister Nitin Gadkari said the most of works in those projects worth around Rs 7 lakh crore would be awarded by December 2018.

Around 5,000 km of national corridor will be taken up in Phase-I at an estimated cost of Rs 100,000 crore.

To expedite the Bharatmala projects, apart from ministry of road transport and highways and state-run firms-NHAI and National Highways and Infrastructure Development Corporation Ltd (NHIDCL)-even respective state public works departments (PWDs) will be roped in for timely execution, the government said. According to rumours, this might be the biggest announcement by the central government leading to the assembly polls later this year.

As per plan, the National Highways Authority of India's (NHAI) proposal to construct a third ring road in Delhi has also been included in the Bharatmala project.

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.

Gadkari said Bharartmala will be transparent and corruption free and, in synergy with Sagarmala, boost connectivity to coastal areas to enable port-led economic development and coastal tourism.

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The Bharatmala project will improve the connectivity with neighbouring countries for which a total of 24 integrated checkpoints (ICPs) have been identified. This will be financed by providing Rs 97,000 crore from CRF and Rs 59,000 crore as gross budgetary support (GBS).

In addition to 34,800 km under Bharatmala, balance works of 48,877 km of works under other current schemes will be implemented in parallel by NHAI/MoRTH with an outlay of Rs.1.57 lakhs crores. The government has also sanctioned nearly Rs 11,000 crore towards the development of roads in states with left wing extremism.

"Bharatmala, the new umbrella programme for the highways sector, focuses on optimising efficiency of road traffic movement across the country by bridging critical infrastructure gaps".

Bharatmala also envisages building 3,300 km border roads and 2,000 km worldwide connectivity roads. The government officials said better road network will transform India's road sector through the smart tag based tolling.

Currently, due to the poor road conditions, narrow widths of the road and congestion points in India, a truck is able to average a distance of only 250-300 km daily, while in developed countries, trucks are able to cover 700-800 km per day.


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