Bharat Mala Project: Government of India headed by Prime Minister Narendra Modi has launched many initiatives to boost the infrastructure development in the country which is an inevitable sector on which the industrial growth of any economy is premised. China is what it is today because of its multi faceted leap taken to modernize the infrastructure in the industrial cities such as Shenzhen etc.
“American roads are not good because America is rich, but America is rich because America has good roads”
– Former American president John F. Kennedy
One of such initiatives launched by the Government is “Bharat Mala” under which highways works worth Rs 8 lakh crore will be constructed to transform the country’s road ways. Subsuming all existing highway projects including the flagship National Highways Development Project (NHDP), Minister for Road Transport & Highways, Shipping and Water Resources, River Development & Ganga Rejuvenation had come up with the Bharat Mala project.
Objective of Bharat Mala Project:
1. 50 national corridors
Bharat Mala will give the country 50 national corridors, with which 70 – 80 percent of freight traffic will move along National Highways as against the 40 percent at present. It improves the efficiency of the National Corridor (Golden-Quadrilateral and North South –East West corridor) by decongesting its choke points through lane expansion, construction of ring roads, bypasses, elevated corridors and logistics parks. An estimated 5,000 KMs of the National Corridor will be taken up in 1st Phase of Bharat mala at an estimated cost of Rs 100,000 crore.
2. Connect 550 Districts
The programme will connect 550 Districts across the country through the linkage of National High ways. Currently, there are only around 300 Districts which have inter-linked national highways.
3. Improves the Performance Index (LPI):
Bharat mala will improve the Logistic Performance Index (LPI) of the country. LPI is a benchmarking tool that helps countries identify the challenges and opportunities they face in their performance on trade logistics and what they should do to improve their performance.
4. Generation of Employment
This project will generate a large number of direct and indirect employment in the construction activity, the development of new highways and also as part of the enhanced economic activity in various parts of the country.
5. Border Roads & International Connectivity
Bharatmala also focuses on building 3300 KMs of Border Roads of strategic importance along international boundaries and 2000 km of International Connectivity roads to promote trade with the neighboring countries Nepal, Bhutan, Bangladesh and Myanmar. Out of this around 2000 km is taken up under 1st Phase at an estimated cost of Rs 25,000 crore.
In Phase I of Bharat mala A total of around 24,800 kms roads are being considered in addition to the 10,000 kms of road works under National Highways Development Program (NHDP) making it a total of 34,800 KMs at a cost of Rs 5,35,000 crores spread over 5 years from 2017-18 to 2021-22.
Components of Phase I and estimated expenditure are as follows:
|Sl. No.||Components||Length (KMs)||Outlay (Rs Crore)|
|1||Economic corridors development||9,000||1,20,000|
|2||Inter-corridor & feeder roads||6,000||80,000|
|3||National Corridors Efficiency improvements:||5,000||100,000|
|4||Border & International connectivity roads||2,000||25,000|
|5||Coastal & port connectivity roads||2,000||20,000|
|Sub Total – I||24,800||385,000|
|7||Balance road works under NHDP||10,000||1,50,000|
|Sub Total – II||34,800||5,35,000|
|8||Roads under other existing schemes||48,877||1,57,324|
Funding of Bharat Mala Project
|Source||Bharatmala phase 1||Other existing schemes||Outlay
|Central road fund (CRF)||1,39,673||97,351||2,37,024|
|Private Investment (PPP)||1,06,000||–||1,06,000|
|Expected monetization of NH||34,000||–||34,000|
|PBF – Toll Collections of NHAI||46,048||–||46,048|
|GBS – SARDP-NE Counterpart Funds etc||–||59,973||59,973|
If delivered as planned, this initiative will really improve the roads and connectivity across the country paving the way for industrial development that China has gone through way back in late nineties.