What is Project BHARATMALA about?
- To increase road infrastructure in remote tough-terrain, the border and coastal areas, the government intends to spend Rs. 2.67 lakh crore under the Bharatmala Project.
- The project involves a highway network from Gujarat to Mizoram covering 10 other states entailing an investment of Rs. 90,000 crore.
- The Bharatmala Project will connect eastern and western India through 7,000 Km of National Highways.
- It will cover Gujarat, Rajasthan, Punjab, Jammu & Kashmir, Himachal Pradesh, Uttarakhand, parts of Uttar Pradesh, Bihar and West Bengal in the first phase. Then it will move to Sikkim, Assam, Arunachal Pradesh, Manipur and Mizoram.
- It will construct 25,000 km of roadways along India’s borders, coastal areas, ports, religious and tourist places as well as over 100 district headquarters.
- It is expected to commence by March, 2017 and is targeted to be completed by 2022.
- The government will seek the help of Border Roads Organization in tough terrain.
- Road connectivity will be improved not just in coastal and border areas, but in backward areas as well.
- Apart from providing connectivity to the ports under the Sagarmala project, this project will provide seamless connectivity along the borders with Nepal, Bangladesh, China, Pakistan and Bhutan, which is crucial for strategic reasons.
- All existing road connectivity schemes like Setu Bharatam, Char Dham Connectivity and National Highways Development Programme will be covered by this project.
- The government will fund most of it but some works can also be undertaken by the PPP mode.
- This road network will garland the territory of India. Hence the name.
What are it’s potential benefits?
- It will allow goods to to move comfortably across the country.
- It will link producers to distant markets, in a way, improving inter-state trade. Inter-state trade of India is at 15 percent of the GDP which is very less as compared to the US and China.
- It will help reduce the cost of passenger and freight travel.
- Rajasthan (1,500 Km), Odisha (650 Km) and Tamil Nadu (600 Km) will be the biggest beneficiaries of the project, which aims to provide smooth connectivity along the states on the border and coast for strategic reasons. It aims to counter China’s impressive road infrastructure across the border states.
- It would also provide immense employment opportunities.
- The new plan will connect all untouched areas in the hinterland to push developmental and economic activities.
- Supplies to India’s troops as well as military transport currently happen through bad quality roads. The project will try to address the problem.
- Borders will open up and border trade will get a boost.
- It will attract mammoth Foreign Direct Investments.
- Real Estate Sector will benefit a lot from this project as a number of industrial, residential and commercial work will be undertaken.
- Land acquisition and environmental clearances are likely to hold the projects.
- Projects are not completed on time. It is essential to carry out this project in a planned and organized manner so that it gets completed on time.