Cabinet approves Rs7 trillion road construction plan, including Bharatmala

India announced an outlay of Rs6.92 trillion for building an 83,677 km road network over the next five years.

The largest ever outlay for road construction comes in the backdrop of the National Democratic Alliance (NDA) government implementing the goods and services tax (GST) which aims to create a common market by dismantling inter-state tariff barriers. A robust road infrastructure will help in that direction.

The road construction push includes the Bharatmala Pariyojana with a Rs5.35 trillion investment to construct 34,800km of roads. In addition, Rs1.57 trillion will be spent on the construction of 48,877km of roads by the state-run National Highway Authority of India (NHAI) and the ministry of road transport and highways.

To expedite the Bharatmala projects, apart from ministry of road transport and highways and state-run firms—NHAI and National Highways and Infrastructure Development Corporation Ltd (NHIDCL)—even respective state public works departments (PWDs) will be roped in for timely execution. This in turn will generate 142 million man-days of jobs, the government said.

To give a boost to the ambitious plan, all future road projects such as economic corridors and coastal roads have been brought under its aegis. The other projects under the marquee scheme include roads providing international connectivity, border roads, roads connecting economically important nodes, green field expressways and the remaining National Highways Development Project (NHDP) works under the scheme launched in 1998 by then Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee.

India needs massive funding to bankroll its new integrated infrastructure programme, which involves building roads, railways, waterways and airports.

To fund the marquee Bharatmala scheme, Rs2.09 trillion will be raised as debt from the market, while Rs1.06 trillion in private investments is being targeted through public private partnerships. In addition, Rs2.19 trillion will be provided from Central Road Fund (CRF), Toll-Operate-Maintain-Transfer (TOT) projects and toll collections of NHAI.

The government is working on raising capital by monetizing the operational road assets of NHAI that have been built by public funding, a first in the country. The government expects a private investment potential of Rs34,000 crore from the monetization of these 82 operating highways under the TOT model.

For projects not covered under the Bharatmala programme, Rs97,000 crore will be provided by the CRF and Rs59,000 crore will be provided as gross budgetary support.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi has said projects such as Sagarmala and Bharatmala will prepare a strong base for infrastructure development, enabling a person to travel across the country on a single road.

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Free Eye Check-up camps on NHs

NHAI Organising 50 Free Eye Check-up camps on NHs from 2-6 October
Will distribute Spectacles to Truck Drivers, Cleaners and Helpers.

The Minister of Road Transport & Highways, Shipping and Water Resources, River Development & Ganga Rejuvenation Shri Nitin Gadkari will launch the countrywide Free Eye Check-up Campaign and distribution of spectacles for truck drivers, cleaners and helpers on 2nd October 2017 at Panjari Toll Plaza, Nagpur Bypass, Nagpur in Maharashtra. The objective of this initiative is to ensure clearer vision and safe travel for truck drivers who are the most frequent users of national highways.

Eyesight is a basic requirement for safe driving. Poor vision increases the risk of collisions due to the driver’s inability to recognise and react in time to a hazard or the behaviour of other road users. The NHAI has decided to launch a Free Eye Check-up Campaign and distribute spectacles for truck drivers, cleaners and helpers on the 2nd October 2017, which will continue for 5 days i.e. till 6th October. Free Eye Check-up Camps for drivers is one of the many innovative programmes undertaken by NHAI to ensure safe travel along national highways. This initiative is expected to reduce the number of accidents involving trucks and encourage regional staff and NGOs to set up such camps on regular basis.

The cleaners can also avail of this facility on the condition of producing a valid driving license. 50 free eye check-up camps will be set up on identified national highways on either side. The camps will be manned by eye specialist and support staff volunteers. Facilities like toilets and beverages vending machines, adequate space for parking of approximately 50 trucks, hand wash etc. shall be made available in these camps. One more component of these camps will be the distribution of free spectacles up to a certain power as prescribed by the eye specialist. Any other defect like cataract will be identified and medicines will be prescribed. Non-governmental organizations, governments, social enterprises and private businesses are being roped in for facilitating the provision of these facilities.

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Intelligent Transportation Systems (ITS)

The National Institution for Transforming India (NITI Aayog) and the International Road Federation, Geneva (IRF Geneva) have, today, signed a Statement of Intent (SoI) to cooperate in the field of Intelligent Transportation Systems (ITS).

The objective of the SoI is to create a national platform, involving all relevant Government of India stakeholders, Indian and foreign companies active in the sector, and relevant technical experts for the purpose of developing a

  • National ITS Policy covering:
  • Traffic Management.
  • Parking Management.
  • Electronic Enforcement of Traffic Rules and Regulations.
  • Fleet Management and Monitoring.
  • Innovation in the field of ITS.
  • Education in the field of ITS.

The objective of the policy:

The objectives of this national ITS Policy will be to contribute to reducing urban traffic congestion, improving the situation around parking of vehicles in cities, improving road safety, and improving the security of passenger and goods traffic. The work of this National Platform will provide a coherent and consistent National ITS Policy covering domains such as traffic and parking management, enforcement, and security.

About International Road federation:

The International Road Federation (IRF) is a nongovernmental, not-for-profit organisation with the mission to encourage and promote development and maintenance of better, safer and more sustainable roads and road networks. Working together with its members and associates, the IRF promotes social and economic benefits that flow from well-planned and environmentally sound road transport networks. It helps put in place technological solutions and management practices that provide maximum economic and social returns from national road investments.

The IRF has a major role to play in all aspects of road policy and development worldwide. For governments and financial institutions, the IRF provides a wide base of expertise for planning road development strategy and policy.

For its members, the IRF is a business network, a link to external institutions and agencies, such as the United Nations and the European Union, and a business card of introduction to government officials and decision makers.
For the community of road professionals, the IRF is a source of support and information for national road associations, advocacy groups, companies and institutions dedicated to the development of road infrastructure.

Through the International Road Educational Foundation the IRF awards grants to graduate engineers and other transportation professionals from around the world in support of full-time academic training. With this the IRF actively supports the future generations who will build the road networks.

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