Conventionally, transportation infrastructure moulds the socio-economic landscape of a country. In India, the reliance on road transport is quite evident.
As a result, it’s more prone to traffic and challenges. For instance, obsolete logistics infrastructure, administrative bottlenecks, lack of connectivity, and so forth.
As a result, it significantly surged the pricing of logistics. To cater to concerns like this, the Govt of India launched a flagship scheme- Bharatmala Pariyojana, 2015.
This scheme aims to revolutionise India’s logistics infrastructure in multiple ways. Its mission is to improve and further develop national and state highways in the country.
Furthermore, to improve the existing bypasses and ring roads, connectivity to borders and ports.
Apart from this, the project aims to broaden connectivity and shorten distance and time. From the economic front, the scheme focuses on upscaling trade & commerce and other economic activities.
More importantly, Bharatmala adopts technical implications for freight assessment & management.
Hence, this scheme is expected to uplift India’s economic and transportation growth significantly.
This scheme has multiple aspects, given its implementation is impacting transportation infrastructure.
Hence, this blog will majorly talk about Bharatmala Pariyojna. Firstly, let’s discuss in detail the scheme’s key characteristics.
Key Features of India’s New Transportation Infrastructure
This umbrella scheme facilitates cargo & passenger movement by examining and covering certain gaps: Economic corridor development, port & border routes, and green-field expressway, to name a few.
- Constructing new roads to expand networking
- To improve the existing highways for facilitating network connectivity in remote or economically backward areas.
- To deploy technology for upgrading scheme planning & incorporation. For instance- The use of GPS- Global Positioning Systems and GIS- Geographical Information Systems.
- To construct economic and inter corridors whilst developing border, feeder, and international connectivity roads.
- Attainment of the objective: At the expense of INR 5,35,000 Cr, build roads of near around 83,677 km. Given the target period, 2017-22.
- To alleviate congestion from different road networks in urban regions. For instance- Ring roads, service and bypass roads.
- Reinstalling safety measures
- To reduce environmental effects by adopting pragmatic measures. For example, wildlife crossing construction and green belts.
- This new transportation infrastructure project should be recognized and acclaimed in several areas. For instance- Economically, technically and financially.
- Establishment of Technical Scrutiny in NHAI- National Highway Authority of India and MoRTH- Ministry of Road Transport and Highways
- To adopt corridors’ satellite mapping to monitor up-gradation requirements.
Certain construction equipment comes into play when aiming to advance transportation infrastructure. For instance, excavators from CASE Construction Equipment have significantly made the excavation process less daunting.
Coverage & Category of The Scheme
The announcement of the Bharatmala scheme by Nitin Gadkari brought multiple approaches into action. Additionally, this yojana highlights the upgradation of the Pan India road network.
Below listed are the categories falling under Bharatmala Pariyojna:
- National Corridor Efficiency Improvement – The purpose is to improve the connectivity between roads. This segment was responsible for constructing a road network of 500 km to achieve the same.
- Inter & Feeder Corridor– To construct a road network of 600 km to improve the infrastructure of the Feeder and Inter corridor.
- Additionally, a road’s construction would involve the action of loading machinery. For instance, a backhoe loader from ACE Construction Equipment can be widely used for extensive purposes.
- Economic Corridor – The Central government will construct around 9000 kilometres of Economic Corridors.
- Connectivity of International and Border Roads– To improve connectivity amid urban and remote areas close to border areas. The Bharatmala scheme reserved a 200 km road construction allocation to do the same.
- Green Field Expressway – The scheme has resources for constructing and upgrading GreenField Expressway. The same aims to reduce traffic congestion and facilitate freight movement.
- Connectivity of Coastal Road & Port – The Indian government ordered and approved the construction of roads of about 2000 kilometres. As a result, it would improve the connectivity of the areas distributed with major ports and shorelines.
- Balance NHDP Works– This segment caters to expanding road connectivity. To substantiate, the government oversees the construction and improvement of around 10,000 km of roads.
- Hence, these were the categories falling under Bharatamala Pariyojna. The following section talks about the challenges of this scheme.
A Challenge: Is the Government Mobilising Resources for Bharatmala?
The NHAI manages all the key aspects of Bharatmala Pariyojna. Furthermore, the government pools resource through areas:
- Central road fund
- Market borrowings
- Monetizing and, after that, optimising road assets of the government
- Through the allocation of budgets
However, the reports project a slightly different story. To illustrate, the scheme is far from its target. It could be due to multiple reasons.
Additionally, a significant surge in land cost and the expansion of the project’s planned expenditure are the evident ones.
Nevertheless, the government is consistently working to fill in the gaps. For example, the government auctions highway projects when they fail to meet the target budget.
Additionally, the government relies on bond markets and foreign debts, for that matter.
Bharatmala, to a greater extent, has revolutionised India’s transportation infrastructure. However, it has certain limitations and challenges which need to be met soon. Nevertheless, we can expect improvement in connectivity, travel time, and economic engagement. Both for freight movement and the public.