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24 Oct 2017

Cabinet approves major highway redevelopment project worth Rs. 7L crore

Cabinet approves major highway projects

The Cabinet has approved the biggest highway redevelopment plan yet: it has sanctioned Rs. 6.9L crore to expand 83,000km of roads by 2022.

This also includes the 28,400km Bharatmala highway scheme connecting border areas.

The aim is to improve traffic speed on key corridors by providing uniform four-lane roads.

The plan is expected to generate at least 32cr man-days in the next five years.

In context

Cabinet approves major highway projects
What is the Bharatmala project? What roads are included?


What is the Bharatmala project? What roads are included?

Bharatmala is the second biggest highway project ever after the National Highways Development Project, that saw the development of 50,000km of roads.

Consisting 44 corridors, it aims to connect border areas; key economic and commercial hubs; and international, port and coastal regions.

Corridors approved today include Bengaluru-Mangaluru, Mumbai-Cochin-Kanyakumari, Sambalpur-Ranchi and Hyderabad-Panaji, among others.

This will facilitate faster movement of cargo.

Where are the funds coming from?

According to sources, more than 70% funds would come from the government. A third will come from fuel cess, over a fourth from borrowings, and the remaining from private investment, budgets and auctioning of completed highways. Detailed reports have already been prepared for 10,000km of roads.

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How will the project change things on the ground?

Presently, due to poor quality of roads, narrow width and congestion, a truck in India can cover just 250-300km daily - less than half the daily 700-800km in developed countries.

An official said a "better road network and rolling out of smart-tag based tolling" project will contribute to reduced logistic expenses.

Another important facet is a boost to economic activity and employment.

The timing meant for a political boost?

"We'll have elections in a 1.5 years or so. Just before that, the government's go-ahead shows its intent clear that it is going ahead with its policy of bringing about changes in infrastructure, keeping the focus on development," said Rohan Suryavanshi of Dilip Buildcon.

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