Cabinet To Approve Biggest Ever Highway Expansion Project Comprising Of 83,000km Worth Rs 7 Lakh Crore
Cabinet To Approve Biggest Ever Highway Expansion Project Comprising Of 83,000km Worth Rs 7 Lakh CroreVijayawada - Guntur National Highway (Pratapkagitha/Wikimedia Commons)

The Union Cabinet is set to approve India’s largest highway expansion programme till date, reports the Times of India. Around 83,000km of highways are set to be upgraded at a cost of Rs 6.9 lakh crore by 2022. The government expects to increase economic activity and productivity under the projects involved.

The expansion project includes 28,000km of border highways under the Bharatmala project, at least 800 km of expressways and improving connectivity to various ports, coastal areas and important economic corridors by providing uniform four-laned roads.

The new highway development programme is both building roads and improving mobility to reduce logistic cost. Better road network and rolling out of smart-tag based tolling will transform the road transport sector.
An official of the Ministry of Road Transport and Highways

The National Highways Authority of India (NHAI) has already identified 10,000 km of roads to be taken up in the first phase and has prepared the detailed project reports (DPRs) in this regard. Officials say that the construction of 10,000km of highways can create four crore man days of employment, therefore countering the view that the Narendra Modi-led government isn’t creating enough jobs.

According to the Public Investment Board (PIB), 70 per cent of the programme will be publicly funded due to apprehensions of the private sector. One-third of the money will be raised through fuel cess, while a quarter will be raised from market borrowing. The remaining money will come from budgetary support, private investment and by auctioning completed highways.

The PIB had earlier enabled for the NHAI to approve projects up to Rs 2,000 crore instead of the earlier system that mandated cabinet approval for projects upwards of Rs 1,000 crore. This model was also followed by the Atal Bihari Vajpayee government for development of the Golden Quadrilateral.

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