Cabinet gives approval to Rs 7 lakh cr highway projects

Cabinet gives approval to Rs 7 lakh cr highway projects

Cabinet gives approval to Rs 7 lakh cr highway projects

This includes Economic Corridors (9000 km), Inter Corridor and Feeder Route (6000 km), National Corridors Efficiency Improvement (5000 km), Border Roads and International Connectivity (2000 km), Coastal Roads and Port Connectivity (2000 km), Green field Expressways (800 km), National Highway Development (NHDP) works (10,000 km).

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. Most of these corridors will be shorter and access-controlled for faster movement of cargo vehicles.

Projects such as economic corridors and coastal roads and port connectivity, global connectivity, border roads, roads connecting economically important nodes, green field expresswayswill be brought under its aegis.

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Under the Bharatmala Project, Rs 5.35 lakh crore will be spent to have 34,800 km of roads.

Perhaps, this is perhaps the biggest announcement by the government announcement ahead of the upcoming assembly elections in Gujarat and few other states. With the infrastructure push, the government has sought to counter allegations of failure to create jobs and also signal its recognition and intent of reviving the economy. In the first phase which will be undertaken for over three to five years, the project would cost Rs 5.5 lakh crore.

Addressing a press conference here on Wednesday Mr Gadkari said the work on project preparation was in 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).

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The Minister said apart from Rs 5,35,000 crore for the first phase, there is a requirement of Rs 1,57,324 crore for ongoing projects under various schemes, and thus, overall outlay will be Rs 6,92,324 crore over five years. 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.

On funding of Bharatmala project, the Government said, "Rs 2.09 lakh crore will be raised as debt from the market, Rs 1.06 lakh crore of private investments would be mobilised through PPP and Rs 2.19 lakh crore is to be provided out of accruals to the Central Road Fund (CRF), ToT Monetisation proceeds and Toll collections of NHAI". The government has also sanctioned nearly Rs 11,000 crore towards the development of roads in states with left wing extremism.

Bharatmala also envisages building 3,300 km border roads and 2,000 km global connectivity roads. The government will try to improve mobility through better road networks and rolling out of smart-tag based tolling. "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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