The Union Cabinet today has given the go-ahead for a number of highway projects that are worth Rs.7 lakh crore in total. The projects will focus on creating 80,000 km of highways in the next five years. This will also include the ambitious Bharatmala project that is aimed at improving traffic flow in key areas with traffic congestion. Additionally, the project is expected to boost economic activity through the improvement of connectivity between border areas, coastal regions, and international ports.
The Cabinet decision follows a statement from the Union Minister, Nitin Gadkari, in which he said that the launch of the Bharatmala project is near. In the first phase of the project, the construction of more than 20,000 km of highways will be implemented. It is the second-largest highway project following the National Highways Development Project (NHDP) that created around 50,000 km of highways and led to better connectivity in border areas.
The highway projects that have been approved in the Cabinet meeting today will include economic corridor developments that are targeted at leveraging faster movement of cargo. Some of the corridors planned for development are Bengaluru-Mangaluru, Mumbai-Cochin-Kanyakumari, Sambalpur-Ranchi, and Hyderabad-Panaji.
In August, the Union Minister of State for Road Transport, Highways, and Shipping had said that the government had narrowed down on 44 economic corridors with high-volume traffic for improvement under the Bharatmala project. The project is also expected to generate 14 crore man-days of jobs in the future.
In the Cabinet meeting today, the finance minister mentioned that the negative effect of the recent structural reforms is temporary and it will turn out to be beneficial in the long run. Subhash Garg, secretary of the Department of Economic Affairs (DEA), also addressed the press at the meeting and stated that inflation has reduced to a large extent in the last 3 years.