Cabinet go-ahead for mega highway plan

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.

The centre's proposal to invest Rs6,92,000 crore for developing about 83,000 km of roads in the country has given a big boost to shares of most infrastructure companies in the morning trade today with shares of companies in the road sector zooming up to 7 per cent.

Addressing a press conference here on Wednesday Mr Gadkari said the work on project preparation was in advanced stage for 19,500 km and about 9,000 km bids were invited for engagement of consultant for preparation of Detailed Project Report (DPR).

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.

The Bharatmala project will improve the connectivity with neighbouring countries for which a total of 24 integrated checkpoints (ICPs) have been identified. "India will have world-class roads on par with the USA and Germany and special emphasis has been accorded to providing quality roads on borders adjoining China and Pakistan, besides far-flung tribal areas", he said. Bharatmala will integrate Bangladesh-Bhutan-Nepal and Myanmar-Thailand corridors to make a North-East hub of East Asia.

Bharatmala will also have a positive impact on the Logistic Performance Index (LPI) of the country.

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"Bharatmala will give the country 50 national corridors, compared with six at present". With this, 70 - 80 percent of freight will move along national highway (NH) as against the 40 percent at present. "The entire programme will be transparent, corruption-free with full emphasis on quality".

Commenting upon the growth registered by the Indian ports, Gadkari said they will earn Rs60,000 crore profit in the current financial year.

"Money is not the problem", Gadkari said while stating that NHAI has a AAA rating which will help it tap the capital markets.

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.

Bharatmala project will be funded through market borrowings, central road funds, monetising government-owned road assets, and budgetary allocation. While further talking about it, he added, "Bharatmala will lead to significant improvements in road safety and save lives".


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