Govt's Rs7,00000-cr highway pitch boosts infrastructure stocks

Govt's to soon announce Bharatmala highway project worth 7 lakh crores

This in turn would help reduce India's supply chain cost to 6% from the present levels of 18%, said Gadkari, who heads the ministry for road transport, highways and shipping, and water resources, river development and Ganga rejuvenation.

Analysts said the push to road infrastructure would have a ripple effect on construction and job creation.

Around 26,200 km of economic corridors, 8,000 km of inter-corridors and around 7,500 km of feeder corridors have been identified under Bharatmala.

"The government's decision to enhance spending in roads and highways, including port connectivity and border and cross-border roads, will have a big multiplier impact on economic growth", Chandrajit Banerjee, director general of the CII, said.

Officials said that the Gross Budgetary Support for the Bharatmala project and existing schemes in five years will be restricted to Rs 2,37,024 crore from the Central Road Fund, Rs 59,973 crorebudgetary support, Rs 34,000 crore from expected monetisation through toll-operate-transfer route and Rs 46,048 crore collected as Toll-Permanent Bridge Fee Fund by the National Highway Authority of India.

Taking forward its commitment to providing more efficient transportation, the Government has debottlenecked the roads sector and significantly stepped up the highway development and road building programme, he said.

Projects such as economic corridors and coastal roads and port connectivity, worldwide connectivity, border roads, roads connecting economically important nodes, green field expresswayswill be brought under its aegis. He also highlighted 185 choke points identified to decongest corridors.

A total of around 24,800 kms are being considered in Phase I of Bharatmala. The project will transit through Bangladesh to improve the North-East connectivity.

Briefing reporters after a cabinet meeting, Finance Secretary Ashok Lavasa said the road building projects will generate 14.2 crore man-days of jobs.

There will be 9,000 km of economic corridors, inter-corridor and feeder routes (6,000 km), national corridors efficiency improvement (5,000 km), border roads and worldwide connectivity (2,000 km), coastal roads and port connectivity (2,000 km) and greenfield expressways (800 km) in the first phase. Presently only six national corridors have in the country. 70 to 80 per cent of freight will move along the national highways against 40 per cent at present. "Each and every work will be through electronic tenders and the quality of highways would be such that they would see no potholes for the next 100 years", Gadkari said.

This is the largest ever road construction project by Indian government.

The Minister also spoke of exploring pension and other investment funds while money can be raised through bonds and NHAI, a flagship organisation of the Ministry that has a rating of AAA+.

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