In a major decision, the central government approved projects worth Rs 7 lakh crores on Tuesday. The sanctioned projects includes ambitious Bharatmala project.
It need be mentioned that none less than Union minister Nitin Gadkari had told media agency that the government will soon launch the Bharatmala project where in 20,000 km of highways will be built in the first phase. The Cabinet gave the go ahead to highway projects worth about Rs 7 lakh crore for development of over 80,000 km of highways including Bharatmala project in the next five years, an official who did not wish to be quoted, told PTI. Road transport minister Gadkari had earlier said detailed project reports (DPRs) are being prepared for the Bharatmala project. Bharatmala is a mega plan of the government and the second-largest highways project after NHDP that saw development of about 50,000 km, and aims at improving connectivity in border and other areas. The official said the highway projects approved today also include economic corridor developments aimed at faster movement of cargo.
The government had earlier planned to develop economic corridors with a length of about 21,000 km besides 14,000 km of feeder routes. The corridors included Mumbai-Cochin-Kanyakumari, Bengaluru-Mangaluru, Hyderabad-Panaji and Sambalpur-Ranchi, to name a few. A study under the proposed Bharatmala project by global consultancy firm AT Kearney had identified 44 economic corridors. The Prime Minister’s Office, earlier this year, had asked for Public Investment Board’s (PIB) clearance to the first phase of the project. PIB, chaired by the expenditure secretary had later approved it. Other members of PIB included secretaries of economic affairs, Niti Aayog, statistics and programme implementation, environment and forests, besides the secretary of the administrative ministry concerned.