The government is set to implement and accelerate work on India’s National Highways in a manner that will expand the existing NH network by 43% – from the existing 140,000km to 200,000 kilometres – by the year 2024. Importantly, implementation of the Bharatmala project and green highways will reduce logistics costs by 3% of the GDP.
The Bharatmala Project is a highways sector programme designed to optimise efficiency of freight and passenger movement across India by bridging critical infrastructure gaps by developing economic corridors, inter-corridors and feeder routes, national corridor efficiency improvement, border and international connectivity roads, coastal and port connectivity roads and greenfield expressways.
Inaugurating the Roads and Highway Summit on ‘Accelerating The Road Infrastructure: New India @75’ organised by FICCI, Nitin Gadkari, Union minister for Road Transport and Highways (MoRTH), said: “Implementation of the Bharatmala project and green highways in the coming years is all set to reduce the logistics costs by 3 percent of the national GDP. India has got huge potential in infrastructure and there is huge potential for road construction, river connectivity, solid and liquid waste management, parking plazas, irrigation, busports, ropeways and cable car projects.”
Mr Gadkari added, “We are making 26 Green Express highways and logistics parks of Rs 2 lakh crore. We have many innovative ideas by which we can develop infrastructure further. We need to accept good technology, research, innovation and successful practices from across the world and from within India. We should use alternative materials to reduce cost without compromising on quality. Time is the most important aspect in construction, it is the biggest asset.”
Pitching for using greener alternatives in road construction, the Union Transport Minister said: “The infrastructure construction industry should find alternatives to cement and other raw materials. Glass fibre steel can be used in place of steel. If there is competition, cost will come down and become reasonable.”
“Infrastructure will surely be recognised as a major hallmark of the country’s economic growth. The new steps taken by the government are helping the infra industry. Better harmony is needed between the private and the government sector,” said Mr BVN Rao, Chairman, FICCI Transport Infrastructure Committee.
According to Satish Parakh, President, India chapter of International Road Federation and MD, Ashoka Buildcon, “At present, 37km of National Highways are being constructed per day but reaching the target of 100km per day is going to be a big challenge for the construction industry due to shortage of natural raw materials and resources. We have to adopt new technologies, innovative construction materials to reduce natural resources to reach the target. Apart from construction of roads, vehicles also need to adopt newer technologies and automation.”