Bharatmala is an ambitious project to improve the road infrastructure in the country. It is an umbrella project under the Ministry of road transport and highways. It will subsume the unfinished project under National Highway development programme.
Under the plan the government intends to develop 83,677 km of highways and roads at an investment of around Rs 7 lakh crore over the next five years. The ambitious project also plans to create new industrial corridors and urban centres, which should enhance economic activity in the country.
It focuses on the new initiatives like development of Border and International connectivity roads, Coastal & port connectivity roads, improving efficiency of National Corridors, Economic corridors and others. The government also expects that 70-80 per cent of freight traffic will move on national highways, up from 40 per cent now.
The funding will be an big issue. 15% is expected from private sector. But how this investment will be raised is yet to be cleared. Land acquisition and environment clearance is another issue. There are inherent issues with PPP models. To speed up the process of approvals, the government has already empowered NHAI to approve all Projects. Government need to improve its execution skills and work closely with state governments to realise the desired objectives.