The proposal is aimed at improving the speed of traffic flow on key corridors and to make them shorter for faster movement of cargo vehicles and lower logistics cost.
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.
Crucially, the announcement comes just days ahead of the Assembly polls in two states. Also, a successful implementation of this step will ensure huge economic push for the government and private sectors alike.Under this project, the government also plans to provide uniform four-lane connectivity to all the major cities across the country.
The project also entails constructing 6,000 km long inter corridor and feeder routes, 2,000 km of border and global connectivity roads, 5,000 km to be upgraded under the national corridor efficiency programme, 800 km of greenfield expressways, 10,000 km under the national highway development programme and 2,000 km of coastal and port connectivity roads.
The government has already cleared Rs 5.35 lakh crore for Bharatmala Road Project. The first phase will cost approx ₹3.5 lakh crores.
On funding of Bharatmala project, the Government said, "Rs 2.09 lakh crore will be raised as debt from the market, Rs 1.06 lakh crore of private investments would be mobilised through PPP and Rs 2.19 lakh crore is to be provided out of accruals to the Central Road Fund (CRF), ToT Monetisation proceeds and Toll collections of NHAI". Special attention has been paid to fulfil 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.
Around 600 projects have been identified for Bharatmala and preparation of detailed project reports for 19,500 km is underway at present.
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.
"The government's decision to enhance spending in roads and highways, including port connectivity and border and cross-border roads, will have a big multiplier impact on economic growth", Chandrajit Banerjee, director general of the CII, said.
Poor road conditions, narrow width as well as congested points have resulted in a truck covering on an average 250-300 km daily in India compared to 700-800 km in developed countries. The government will try to improve mobility through better road networks and rolling out of smart-tag based tolling.