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Defence & Security
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- GS 3 || Economy || Infrastructure || Transportation
Why in news?
The Ministry of Road Transport and Roads envisions the Bharatmala Pariyojana as an umbrella initiative for the highways sector.
What is Bharatmala Pariyojana?
- The Bharatmala Pariyojana is a roads umbrella initiative that focuses on improving the efficiency of freight and passenger traffic across India.
- The program’s goal is to allocate resources efficiently for a comprehensive highway construction and improvement project.
- The National Highways Authority of India (NHAI) is in charge of putting the plan into action.
- Bharatmala Phase 1 and 2:
- By 2022, Phase I of Bharatmala will have completed around 24,800 kilometers of road.
- In addition, phase I of the National Highways Development Program involves 10,000 kilometers of balancing road construction (NHDP).
- Furthermore, under Bharatmala 2.0, the government plans to construct 4000 km of Greenfield roads and 3000 km of expressways (Second Phase).
- A total of around 24,800 kms are being considered in Phase I of Bharatmala. In addition, Bharatmala Pariyojana phase -I also includes 10,000 kms of balance road works under NHDP, taking the total to 34,800 kms at an estimated cost of Rs.5,35,000 crore.
- By 2024, Phase-II will have built about 48,000 kilometers of road network across India.
Key features of Bharatmala Pariyojna:
- Total road construction: According to the scheme’s design, the government and the ministry will work to finish new roads which will add up to a whopping 34, 800 kms.
- Program duration: The central government intends to complete the scheme within a five-year time frame. Thus, all is set for finishing the first phase before the end of 2022.
- Integrated scheme: The Bharatmala is the name given to the road construction project, which will also incorporate a number of other connected projects. The scheme’s overall success will be assured after all of the initiatives have been completed.
- Improving road quality: The project was launched with the goal of bringing a fresh wave of growth to the country in the shape of well-maintained and improved highways. The building of roads in all regions of the country will be conducted as part of this project.
- Daily construction: In order to complete the first phase on schedule, the relevant department has made daily efforts to construct at least 18 km of route. Continued attempts are being made to beat the clock.
- Phased segmentation: Due to the scheme’s sheer size and scope, it will be split into seven discrete phases. The first phase is currently under development.
- Multiple sources of finance: A single source of funding will not suffice to support a massive project. As a result, the government will have to rely on other sources of revenue to cover its costs.
- Different types of road construction: The official draft of the project states that in order to improve connectivity, several types of roads will be built.
Category of Bharatmala Pariyojana:
- Border and International connectivity roads: 3,300 km of border roads have been identified to be built along the international border for their strategic importance.
- Green-field expressways: Expressways to be built close to National and Economic Corridors where traffic has breached 50,000 PCUs and there are multiple chokepoints.
- Coastline and Port Connectivity Roads: A total of 2,100 kilometers of coastal roads have been earmarked for construction along India’s coast. These roads would help the coastal region’s tourist and industrial growth. The improvement of coastal and port connection roads has been coordinated with the Sagarmala initiative.
- Economic Corridor Development: In addition to the current Golden Quadrilateral (GQ) and North South-East-West routes, the economic corridor development program focuses on creating additional corridors.
- Enhancing the Efficiency of Existing Corridors: It will focus on improving the efficiency of existing corridors by eliminating congestion points and increasing average speed. Controlling access on the corridor, consistent corridor tolling, and the building of bypasses, ring roads, and flyovers at choke spots are some of the interventions.
- Development of inter-corridor and feeder roads: Inter-corridor routes connect more than two corridors, whilst feeder routes connect one or two corridors. These routes are projected to transport 20% of all freight.
Benefits of Bharatmala Pariyojana:
- Passenger Mobility Would Boost: The network would improve passenger movement on NHs. Additionally, uniform roadside facilities throughout the routes will increase passenger convenience.
- Increased Freight Transportation: The Bharatmala network will handle 80 percent of the country’s inter-district freight movement. It is anticipated that this will have a beneficial influence on the Logistic Performance Index (LPI).
- Increased Connectivity: Through NH connections, the initiative will be able to connect 550 districts across the country. Around 300 districts now have NH connections.
- Export-Import (EXIM) Trade with Nepal, Bhutan, Bangladesh, and Myanmar is projected to increase as a result of new border and international connecting highways.
- Employment: In the first phase, the upgrade of 24,800 km of NH network is projected to produce about 10 crore man-days of construction employment. Increased economic activity as a result of the Economic Corridor network expansion will offer roughly 22 million permanent jobs.
Challenges associated with the Bharatmala Pariyojana:
- Higher acquisition costs: The Right to Fair Compensation and Transparency in Land Acquisition, Rehabilitation, and Resettlement Act of 2013 (RFCTLARR) has resulted in an increase in compensation, which has resulted in a significant rise in acquisition costs.
- Finance: Given the growth in non-performing assets, financial institutions are hesitant to lend to the infrastructure sector (NPAs).
- Environmental Permissions: Obtaining timely forest and environmental clearances is a key hurdle for the Bharatmala project’s successful execution.
- Land purchase: The project’s land acquisition will be hampered by fragmented land holdings, a lack of clear land titles, reliance on local authorities, and an inadequate land acquisition strategy at the time of compiling comprehensive project studies, and a lack of compensation methods.
- Impact on Build-operate-transfer (BOT) and Operate-maintain-transfer (OMT) operators: The Bharatmala project may cause traffic to be diverted from current roads to new highways, impacting toll revenue for some BOT and OMT operations. This will have an impact on the operators’ capacity to service loan. The danger of such loan defaults will contribute to the stressed assets and non-performing assets of banks and financial institutions.
The Bharatmala Pariyojana, dubbed India’s largest roads construction plan, is anticipated to transform Indian roadways and promote connection, growth, and development. However, for the program’s initiatives to be implemented effectively, fast land acquisitions, environmental clearances, and enough and timely finance are required.
Mains oriented question:
To boost economy infrastructure and connectivity play one of the most important role in context of that write about the Bharatmala Pariyojna in detail. (200 words)