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A Rs 5.35 lakh crore garland of roads to adorn India

A Rs 5.35 lakh crore garland of roads to adorn India

A Rs 5.35 lakh crore garland of roads to adorn India

The ambitious Bharatmala road and highways project, which is centrally-sponsored and funded, will help to considerably improve India's rankings in the Logistic Performance Index, the Road Transport and Highways Minister told the media here.

As per plan, the National Highways Authority of India's (NHAI) proposal to construct a third ring road in Delhi has also been included in the Bharatmala project. Most of these corridors will be shorter and access-controlled for faster movement of cargo vehicles.

Special attention has been paid to fulfil 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, Gadkari said.

"These road building projects, including the "Bharatmala" project of around 35,000 km with an investment of Rs. 5.35 lakh crore, is likely to create 14.2 crore man-days of jobs", the Cabinet said.

On Tuesday, finance secretary Ashok Lavasa had noted that some government agencies had more appetite for spending, something that economic affairs secretary SC Garg had also said while announcing the possibility of higher capital expenditure by public sector companies and had gone to name NHAI as one of the entities planning to step up asset creating spend this year. In the first phase which will be undertaken for over three to five years, the project would cost Rs 5.5 lakh crore.

A total of around 600 projects have been identified across the components for Bharatmala.

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In addition to 34,800 km under Bharatmala, another 48,877 km of works under other current schemes will be implemented in parallel by the NHAI with an outlay of Rs 1.57 lakh crore.

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.

"With the implementation of this programme, India could get the much needed cost competitiveness in the manufacturing sector by bringing down the logistics cost which is now one of the highest among the emerging markets and way above that prevalent in developed economies", Mint quoted Jagannarayan Padmanabhan, director and practice lead, transport and logistics at CRISIL Infrastructure Advisory as saying.

The roads that would be built under Bharatmala will include state highways, national highways, and some state roads across the country. The government will try to improve mobility through better road networks and rolling out of smart-tag based tolling.

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.

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