The Bharatmala Pariyojana is an umbrella scheme for the highways department that focuses on improving the efficiency of freight and passenger movement across the country by bridging critical infrastructure gaps. It was launched by Mr Nitin Gadkari, India's Minister of Road Transport and Highways, on 25th October 2017, as part of Prime Minister Narendra Modi's initiative to upgrade the country's road network.
The Bharatmala Pariyojana was proposed by the ministries of Road Transport and Highways, Shipping and Water Resources, and River Development and Ganga Rejuvenation. It combines all the existing highway projects, including the mega National Highways Development Project (NHDP).
Bharatmala Pariyojana Objectives
The following are the objectives of the Bharatmala Pariyojana:
- Economic Corridor - According to the road-building project rules, the government will construct 9000 km of Economic Corridors.
- Feeder Route or Inter Corridor - The overall length of the highways classified as Feeder Route or Inter Corridor is 6000 km.
- National Corridor Efficiency Improvement - 5000 km of roads built under the program would fall under the category of National Corridor for greater road connectivity.
- Border Road and International Connectivity - In order to connect cities and isolated communities located in border regions, the project has made provisions for the construction of 2000 km of highways classified as Border Roads or International Connectivity.
- Port Connectivity and Coastal Road - The national government has authorized the construction of 2000 km of highways to connect the areas sprinkled around the shorelines and significant ports.
- Green Field Expressway - The major emphasis will be on the building and development of the Green Field Expressway for better traffic and freight management.
- Balance NHDP Works - The last part of the project will involve the building and maintenance of about 10,000 km of new roads.
Bharatmala Pariyojana Development Phases
- The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs has implemented the National Highway Road Sector scheme "Bharatmala Pariyojana Phase-I" for five years, from 2017 to 2022.
- A total of 34,800 kilometres of the road will be built during Phase 1, and at present, 571 infrastructure projects totalling 19,785 kilometres in length have been approved.
- The cost of completing the Bharatmala Pariyojana Phase 1 was initially projected at Rs 5.35 lakh crores, but it has now risen to Rs 8.5 lakh crores, owing to delays in land acquisition.
- The Bharatmala project will connect 550 District Headquarters (from the current 300) through a minimum 4-lane highway by increasing the number of corridors to 50 (from the current 6) and moving 80 percent of the freight traffic (currently 40 percent) to National Highways by connecting 24 logistics parks, 66 inter-corridors totalling 8,000 km, 116 feeder routes totalling 7,500 km, and 7 north east multi-modal waterway ports.
The Bharatmala Pariyojana, popularly known as the "Indian garland project", is a large government initiative. With improved connection enhancing the nation's economic activity, the roads will facilitate connections between the market, enterprises, etc.
The project will help connect tribal and backward communities, economic activity areas, border areas, coastal areas, and trade routes with neighbouring nations. It is also expected to create around 22 million jobs, both direct and indirect.
Taking all of this into account, the Bharatmala Pariyojana is a promising initiative that will propel our nation to success and wealth.
FAQs on Bharatmala Pariyojana
Q1. Which sector does Bharatmala Pariyojana belong to?
Ans. Bharatmala Pariyojana belongs to the road infrastructure sector.
Q2. How many districts will be linked to National Highways under Bharatmala Pariyojana?
Ans. A total of 550 districts will be linked to National Highways under Bharatmala Pariyojana.
Q.3 What time frame has the government set for completing Phase 1 of Bharatmala Pariyojana?
Ans. The Government of India and the Ministry of Road Transport and Highways have agreed to finish phase one of the Bharatmala Pariyojana by December 2022.
Q4. What is the current status of the Bharatmala Pariyojana?
Ans. The first phase of the Bharatmala Pariyojana was supposed to be completed by December 2022 as per the NHAI's initial plan. However, because of the pandemic and other challenges related to cost overruns and land acquisition, the completion date has been pushed to 2026.