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Rs 7 lakh cr for building 84000 km of roads

Rs 7 lakh cr for building 84000 km of roads

The project also entails constructing 6,000 km long inter corridor and feeder routes, 2,000 km of border and worldwide 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. 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.

Crucially, the announcement comes just days ahead of the Assembly polls in two states.

The transport ministry estimates that construction of 10,000 km of highways annually can generate four crore mandays and the proposed mega highway development programme can be utilized to counter allegations that the Modi government has failed to create any employment opportunity.

Gadkari said the work on project preparation was in an 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) and total 550 districts would be connected with NH under the project.

As Bharatmala will require over Rs 5 lakh crore, the government has various fundraising plans under its sleeve. The finance ministry has committed to provide the fixed share of cess from fuel for highway projects irrespective of fluctuation in excise duty and there will also be at least 10% annual increase in budgetary support for the flagship scheme.

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 project is also aimed to lead to decongestion of the corridor network with 185 identified choke points.

Central and state governments would spend another Rs 88,185 crore in the next three years towards constructing rural roads under Pradhan Mantri Gram Sadak Yojana.

"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".

The government also approved the construction of 2,000 km of roads, along the eastern and western borders of the country to boost border roads and global connectivity.

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. "We have empowered the National Highways Authority of India (NHAI) to appraise, approve and bid out projects worth upto Rs 2,000 crore", he said.

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