Since the past three years, India has seen an exponential growth in progressive trends than ever before. From ISRO making itself one of the most reputed organisations in the world, to economic reforms and even implementation of log withstanding policies – work done during the past three years is more intense than any other time frame in India. And yet another ambitious project was approved by the Cabinet Committee of Economic Affairs on October 24, 2017.
‘Bharatmala’ is a project one of its kind, providing scope for progress on various dimensions including economic growth, investment scope, infrastructure and employment generation. It is a highway project designed to encompass the entire country, in order to reduce traffic and logistical complications alongside bridge gaps in infrastructure. The Bharatmala project aims to not just build new roads, but also inspect the existing roads all over India to detect and fix loopholes. The logistics sector of India is about to get exceptionally efficient!
This project shall cover a total of 24,800 kilometres of road in Phase 1, which is the recently approved part of the complete venture. At an estimated budget of Rs. 5,35,000 crore, Bharatmala shall not only enhance our national highways, but shall also provide special attention to sensitive areas as well. These include border areas, roads that facilitate trade relations with neighbouring countries, backward and tribal locations, tourist attractions, and even coastal cities. In all, this scheme (the entire Bharatmala project, all phases combined) shall drastically provide a makeover to Indian roads and geographical connectivity.
The highlights of the project include a coverage (estimated) of 83,677 roads in all and facilitation of 50 national corridors. NH freight movement is expected to rise to 70-80% from the current rate of 40%. NH linkage shall be provided to 550 districts, rising from 300 districts currently. There are also other logistical aspects marked out for enhancement such as inter-corridors, national corridors, border roads and international connectivity – identified according to their strategic importance to the country, coastal roads and port connectivity, Greenfield expressways, and more.
The Bharatmala project also very particularly specifies that the quality of roads is a major concern in India, which shall be looked into. This process has been mapped out through an analysis of traffic intensity of national highways in India. The process has been facilitated by a geo-mapping program by Bhaskaracharya Institute for Space Applications and Geo-Informatics. There were technology assisted surveys conducted at 1500 points and 600 districts all around the country.
The funding for this project has proven to be more of an opportunity than a challenge. Private investment, market facilitated debt, toll collections and Central Road Fund shall collectively contribute for this project. Bhartmala is undoubtedly the most sophisticated, detailed and ambitious road projects designed for India. Not only it is expected to elevate the conditions of roads and standards of logistics in India, but also provide scope for progress on multiple dimensions. With an employment generation of 14.2 crore man-days of jobs, the project shall also serve a progressive purpose on grass root levels. The execution and implementation of this project is amongst the most awaited ventures coming year.