Bharatmala will lower logistics costs to 6% from 18% now: Nitin Gadkari

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He said the programme has been created to bridge the gaps in the existing highways infrastructure so as to make the movement of man and material more efficient.

Aside from providing a boost to the country's infrastructure, the project aims to set in motion economic activity as well as generate as many as 32 crore man days throughout the country by 2022. "With the BharatMala project we will be able to link 550 districts", said road and transport minister Nitin Gadkari.

Addressing a press conference here on Wednesday Mr Gadkari said the work on project preparation was in advanced stage for 19,500 km and about 9,000 km bids were invited for engagement of consultant for preparation of Detailed Project Report (DPR).

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.

"Bharatmala will give the country 50 national corridors, compared with six at present". According to the ministries, the construction of the 10,000 km highways annually has a potential for generating four crore people per day and the mega-highway development programme that can be used to counter the allegations which government has failed to create employment opportunities. Seventy to 80 per cent of freight will move along the national highways against 40 per cent at present. Bharatmala Phase-I will be implemented over a five years period of i.e. 2017-18 to 2021-22.

Mint reported on 12 September that the government planned to fund large infrastructure projects by raising money in tranches of Rs10,000 crore by selling 10-year bonds at a coupon of 7.25-7.75%.

"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.

Around 2,100 km coastal roads and 2,000 km port connectivity roads as also 1,900 km stretches of greenfield expressways have also been identified under the project.

"Thus, the overall outlay for Bharatmala and all existing schemes put together will be Rs 6,92,324 crore over five years".

As per plan, the National Highways Authority of India's (NHAI) proposal to construct a third ring road in Delhi has also been included in the Bharatmala project.

The government will fund Bharatmala project through market borrowings, central road funds, monetising government-owned road assets, and budgetary allocationBharatmala project through market borrowings, central road funds, monetising government-owned road assets, and budgetary allocation.

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