Ship­ping, Road Trans­port and High­ways Min­is­ter Nitin Gad­kari

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An um­brella pro­gramme for roads - Bharat­mala - will hit the ground soon end­ing all ex­ist­ing high­way projects, in­clud­ing the flag­ship NHDP, in six months,Union Min­is­ter Nitin Gad­kari has said. The am­bi­tious high­ways de­vel­op­ment project sub­sum­ing all road projects in the first phase will see the con­struc­tion of 20,000 km of high­ways. "Na­tional High­ways De­vel­op­ment Project ( NHDP) and all ex­ist­ing schemes will be fin­ished in the com­ing six months. We will launch Bharat­mala very soon," Gad­kari, the Road Trans­port and High­ways Min­is­ter, told PTI in an in­ter­view. De­tailed project re­ports (DPRs) are in the process of prepa­ra­tion and the first phase of the Bharat­mala project will see con­struc­tion of 20,000 km of high­ways, he said. Bharat­mala is a mega plan of the gov­ern­ment and the sec­ond-largest high­ways project af­ter the NHDP that saw de­vel­op­ment of about 50,000 km. NHDP, be­ing im­ple­mented in var­i­ous phases was ini­ti­ated by former Prime Min­is­ter Atal Be­hari Va­j­payee and in­cludes Golden Quadri­lat­eral con­nect­ing four me­trop­o­lises be­sides North-South Cor­ri­dor con­nect­ing Sri­na­gar to Kanyaku­mari and EastWest Cor­ri­dor join­ing Por­ban­dar to Silchar. About 10,000 km of projects un­der NHDP are yet to be com­pleted. "We will un­der­take mas­sive road con­struc­tion un­der the Bharat­mala and lay a net­work of roads in bor­der ar­eas. We will con­nect all district head­quar­ters with roads," Gad­kari said. Spe­cial em­pha­sis will be given on pro­vid­ing con­nec­tiv­ity to far-flung ru­ral ar­eas in­clud­ing the tribal and back­ward ar­eas, he added. The Prime Min­is­ter's Of­fice, ear­lier this month, af­ter go­ing through a pre­sen­ta­tion of the Bharat­mala project has asked for Pub­lic In­vest­ment Board's (PIB) clear­ance to the first phase of the project, a gov­ern­ment of­fi­cial said. The to­tal in­vest­ment en­vis­aged un­der Bharat­mala was pegged at Rs 10 lakh crore, he added. The first phase will see con­struc­tion of about 20,000 km of high­ways net­work that in­cludes eco­nomic cor­ri­dor schemes, coastal and other roads. Af­ter view­ing the pre­sen­ta­tion by the Road Trans­port and High­ways Min­istry, the PMO was of the view that a note should be floated for PIB ap­proval, the of­fi­cial said. PIB, chaired by the ex­pen­di­ture sec­re­tary, com­prises sec­re­taries of eco­nomic af­fairs, the Niti Aayog, sta­tis­tics and pro­gramme im­ple­men­ta­tion, en­vi­ron­ment and forests as mem­bers, be­sides the sec­re­tary of the ad­min­is­tra­tive min­istry con­cerned. It also has joint sec­re­tary, ex­pen­di­ture, as mem­ber- sec­re­tary, and the PIB has a pro­vi­sion that its meet­ings will be at­tended in nor­mal course by the nom­i­nated mem­ber per­son­ally

and only in the most ex­tra­or­di­nary cir­cum­stances, the next se­nior most of­fi­cers could be nom­i­nated. Mean­while de­lib­er­a­tions are un­der way for fi­nanc­ing of the projects un­der Bharat­mala and the Na­tional High­ways Au­thor­ity of In­dia (NHAI) could be del­e­gated projects un­der en­gi­neer­ing, pro­cure­ment and con­struc­tion (EPC) as the NHAI board has the au­ton­omy. A Road Trans­port and High­ways Min­istry-ap­pointed study un­der the pro­posed Bharat­mala project by global con­sul­tancy firm AT Kear­ney has iden­ti­fied 44 eco­nomic cor­ri­dors. The eco­nomic cor­ri­dor project is aimed at faster move­ment of cargo and will be de­vel­op­ing not only eco­nomic cor­ri­dors with a length of about 21,000 km but 14,000 km of feeder routes. The cor­ri­dors in­clude Mum­bai-Cochin-Kanyaku­mari, Ben­galuru-Man­galuru, Hy­der­abad-Panaji and Sam­balpur- Ranchi, to name a few. Gad­kari has been stress­ing on the need for re­duc­ing lo­gis­tics cost in the coun­try from the cur­rent 18 per cent. Not­ing that high lo­gis­tics cost has been one of the ma­jor bot­tle­necks in trade and busi­ness, the min­is­ter has been stress­ing on the need to de­velop in­no­va­tive meth­ods for trans­port. Last week in­vest­ment pacts worth Rs 2 lakh crore had been inked at the maiden in­te­grated lo­gis­tics sum­mit here. Of the to­tal 34 in­vest­ment pacts com­mit­ted, more than 15 per­tain to set­ting up multi-modal lo­gis­tics parks by state gov­ern­ments along with Na­tional High­ways Au­thor­ity of In­dia (NHAI), Na­tional High­ways In­fra­struc­ture De­vel­op­ment Cor­po­ra­tion (NHDICL) and Con­tainer Cor­po­ra­tion of In­dia. Agree­ments for port con­nec­tiv­ity and land ports were also inked. Ad­dress­ing the three-day In­dia In­te­grated Trans­port and Lo­gis­tics (IITL) Sum­mit, the min­is­ter has said un­like the past, var­i­ous min­istries have joined hands for an in­te­grated ap­proach to boost in­fra­struc­ture, which in turn would bol­ster ex­ports and aug­ment the econ­omy. "Why can't we de­velop in­te­grated lo­gis­tics so­lu­tions whether by rail, road or water so that our beau­ti­ful flow­ers from Sikkim reach the world mar­ket, or­anges from Nag­pur, Alphonso from Konkan, Litchi from Bi­har, grapes from Nasik and ap­ples from Hi­machal dom­i­nate the world mar­ket," Gad­kari has said. The 34 MoUs inkedd were in the ar­eas of port con­nec­tiv­ity, In­te­grated Check Posts (ICP) in the states of Bi­har, Ut­tarak­hand, Ut­tar Pradesh, West Ben­gal, Ma­nipur, ac­cess to land port in Tripura, As­sam and Mi­zo­ram and de­vel­op­ment of Lo­gis­tics Parks in Te­lan­gana, Andhra Pradesh, Kar­nataka, Mad­hya Pradesh, As­sam, Gu­jarat and Mi­zo­ram. Oth­ers per­tained to de­vel­op­ment and fur­ther­ing of multi-modal lo­gis­tics parks in Mum­bai and Ben­galuru and Haryana, ex­plor­ing in­vest­ment op­por­tu­ni­ties in lo­gis­tics sec­tor, dredg­ing of in­land wa­ter­ways, im­ple­men­ta­tion of 79 port con­nec­tiv­ity projects un­der Sa­gar­mala, de­vel­op­ment of port roads to Chen­nai and Visakha­p­at­nam ports and con­nec­tiv­ity to air­port in Navi Mum­bai. Some of th­ese MoUs are be­tween gov­ern­ment agen­cies while oth­ers are in the gov­ern­ment-to-busi­ness and busi­nessto- busi­ness seg­ments. The Sum­mit was at­tended by around 3,000 del­e­gates from In­dia and abroad, which in­cluded cen­tral and state gov­ern­ment or­gan­i­sa­tions, in­ter­na­tional or­gan­i­sa­tions like World Bank and ADB, global trans­port and sup­ply chain ex­perts and rep­re­sen­ta­tives of pri­vate com­pa­nies.

Ship­ping, Road Trans­port and High­ways Min­is­ter Nitin Gad­kari

Former Prime Min­is­ter Atal Be­hari Va­j­payee

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