The Indian government on Tuesday approved the biggest highway construction plan so far in the country. Approximately 83,677 km of roads at an investment of Rs 6.92 lakh crore by 2022, is set to be developed. The programme includes the Bharatmala scheme, under which 34,800 km of highways would be constructed at the cost of Rs 5.35 lakh crore, finance secretary Ashok Lavasa said.
Under Bharatmala, the road transport and highways ministry will construct 9,000 km of economic corridors across the country. Road transport and highways minister Nitin Gadkari said the most of works in those projects worth around Rs 7 lakh crore would be awarded by December 2018.
Gadkari said that the entire process of awarding the contracts would happen fast and in a transparent manner. “Not a single paisa worth of corruption will happen. The programme is the biggest infrastructure programme, including Bharatmala, that will see India having 50 corridors including the existing six,” Gadkari told reporters on Wednesday.
The massive infrastructure push is being termed as a step closer to achieving the target of Rs 25 lakh crore worth of work in the highways and shipping space in five years, creating 1 crore jobs and contributing 2-3 percent to GDP, with Gadkari claiming would change the the very face of India.
Gadkari said the roads would be comparable with those in the developed countries. “India will have world-class roads on par with the US and Germany and special emphasis has been accorded to providing quality roads on borders adjoining China and Pakistan, besides far-flung tribal areas,” he said.
According to government estimates, the works will translate into creating 14 crore man-days of jobs in five years. “The quality of highways would be such that they would see no potholes for the next 100 years,” he said. Talking about the funding of the Rs 5.35 lakh crore Bharatmala, he said it has been fully tied up as Rs 2.37 lakh crore would flow from the central road fund, Rs 2.05 lakh crore as market borrowing, Rs 34,000 crore from monetisation of highway projects and Rs 60,000 crore through budgetary allocation.