The road sector in India seems to be on the revival path buzzing with lots of activity at the policy level and on the ground. Prime Minister Narendra Modi has recently launched ‘’SETU BHARATAM’ PROGRAMME – an initiative to make National Highways free of railway level crossings by 2019. Another important programme ‘BHARATMALA’ is about to be launched with the aim to improve road connectivity to coastal/border, backward, religious and tourist destinations. The overall growth of the economy very much depends on the connectivity provided by roads, bridges and highways spread across the length and breadth of the country. The sector is getting its due attention under the dynamic leadership of Prime Minister Modi.
Under Special Accelerated Road Development Programme for the North East Region (SARDP-NE), efforts are being made to provide robust road connectivity to the North Eastern region. Hilly areas like Himachal Pradesh and Uttarkhand are receiving due attention from the Road Ministry. Better connectivity is being targeted for religious destinations like Char-Dham (Kedarnath, Badrinath, Yamunothri & Gangothri in Uttarakhand).
The Centre is keen to spend around Rs 50,000 crore on the construction and upgradation of National Highways including major bridges in the state of Bihar.
Some of the recent announcements and updates are provided below:
BHARATMALA PROJECT TO IMPROVE ROAD NETWORK ACROSS THE COUNTRY
The Minister of State for Road Transport & Highways, Pon. Radhakrishnan has recently informed the Lok Sabha about the Bharatmala Pariyojana which is yet to be formally launched. The road ministry has taken up detailed review of National Highways (NHs) network. The programme aims to improve road connectivity to coastal / border areas, backward areas, religious places, tourist places through construction / rehabilitation / widening of about 1,500 major bridges and 200 Railway Over Bridges (ROBs) / Railway Under Bridges (RUBs) on NHs, improvement of newly declared NHs providing connectivity to District Head Quarters, Connectivity Improvement Program for Char-Dham (Kedarnath, Badrinath, Yamunothri & Gangothri in Uttarakhand) under proposed Bharatmala Pariyojana.
The Ministry has assigned the tasks of preparation of detailed project reports (DPRs) for about 17,200 km length of roads and about 205 ROBs / RUBs to various agencies in anticipation of approval of the programme; besides, the Ministry has invited bids for preparation of DPRs for about 1,500 major bridges on NHs.
DELHI-JAIPUR HIGHWAY PROJECT UPDATE
The Minister of State for Road Transport & Highways, Pon. Radhakrishnan has recently informed the Lok Sabha. The status of work on the Delhi-Jaipur Highway (NH-8) is as follows:
• Total 93 structures (Flyovers/VUP/PUP) have been proposed on six laning of Delhi- Jaipur Project which is on BOT mode.
• Out of the 93 structures, 9 structures have been deleted & 17 structures have been delinked due to non availability of land. Construction of the 17 delinked structures envisaged in the project for smooth flow of traffic depends upon availability of encumbrance free land.
• Out of the balance 67 structures, 61 structures have been completed and 5 structures are targeted to be completed by June 2016 and one flyover (at Hero Honda Chowk) is targeted to be completed by May 2017. A budgetary provision of Rs. 53.90 crore has been kept during the financial year 2015-16 for construction of flyover at Hero Honda Chowk on EPC mode. After construction of flyover at Hero Honda Chowk, congestion on the project highway is likely to be decreased.
Regarding the Delhi-Jaipur Expressway, feasibility study is in progress. In view of high cost of land acquisition, innovative financial options are being explored
GOVERNMENT GEARS UP TO IMPROVE ROAD CONNECTIVITY IN NORTH EASTERN REGION
To improve and provide better connectivity to the North East region, the Government of India has taken up various road improvement projects under Special Accelerated Road Development Programme for North East (SARDP-NE). National Highways & Infrastructure Development Corporation Ltd is set up to fast track road/highways project in North East and augment the capacity of the agencies involved in the development and maintenance of NH in the Region. Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) has pledged ODA loan of 96,457 million JPY (Yen) in two tranches for widening and upgradation to 2-Lane with paved shoulder and geometric improvements of the following National Highway (NH) projects:
(i) NH-54 from Km 8.00 to Km 380.00 in the state of Mizoram.
(ii) NH-51 Km. 85.00 to 95.00 and Km. 101.00 to 145.00 in the state of Meghalaya.
Interest rates on the loan for construction works & procurement of goods & services are 1.4% per annum and for consulting services is 0.01%. Re-payment of ‘principal’ will be made in 20 years after the disbursement period of 10 years.
GOVERNMENT LAUNCHES SETU BHARATAM PROGRAMME
The Government of India has recently launched the Setu Bharatam programme for building bridges for safe and seamless travel on National Highways. The programme aims to make all National Highways free of railway level crossings by 2019. This is being done to prevent the frequent accidents and loss of lives at level crossings. As part of this programme, 208 Railway over Bridges (ROB)/Railway under Bridges (RUB) will be built at the level crossings at a cost of Rs 20,800 crore as part of the programme. The details of 208 ROBs are as follows: Andhra Pradesh – 33, Assam – 12, Bihar – 20, Chhattisgarh – 5, Gujarat – 8, Haryana – 10, Himachal Pradesh – 5, Jharkhand – 11, Karnataka – 17, Kerala – 4, Madhya Pradesh -6, Maharashtra – 12, Odisha – 4, Punjab – 10, Rajasthan – 9, Tamil Nadu – 9, Uttarakhand – 2, Uttar Pradesh – 9, West Bengal – 22. Detailed Project Reports have already been received for 73 ROBs and of these 64 ROBs are likely to be sanctioned with an estimated cost of Rs. 5600 crore soon. In addition to this, about 1500 old and worn down bridges will also be improved by replacement/widening/strengthening in a phased manner at a cost of about Rs. 30,000 crore. The Ministry has already invited bids for appointing consultancy for preparing Detailed Project Report for this.
CENTRE APPROVES FOUR LANING OF RAMPUR-KATHGODAM SECTION
The Centre has approved the four laning of Rampur-Kathgodam section of NH-87 at a total project cost of Rs 1,628.76 Cr. under NHDP-III for which bids have been invited. Forest Clearance has been accorded by Ministry of Environment & Forest (MOEF) and land acquisition notification under section 3(D) of NH Act 1956 has been published.
CENTRE APPROVES FOUR LANING OF NAGINA-KASHIPUR SECTION
The Centre has approved the four laning of Nagina-Kashipur section of NH-74 is at a total project cost of Rs 2,535.54 crore under NHDP-IV for which bids have been invited. Forest clearance is in process and to be accorded by MOEF. The completion is targeted by 2019.
NATIONAL HIGHWAYS IN CHHATTISGARH
In the state of Chhattisgarh, eight numbers of new National Highways - NH-343, NH-163A, NH-149B, NH-130A, NH-130B, NH-130C, NH-130D & NH-930 covering a total length of 843.20 km have been declared between the year 2010 to 2015. Seven works at the cost of Rs 59.53 crore have been sanctioned on NH-343, NH-130A, NH-130C & NH-930 during the year 2011-2015. All works have been awarded. No expenditure was incurred on these works upto 31.03.2015. However, an expenditure amounting to Rs.21.67 crore has been incurred during 2015-16. These works are scheduled to be completed by May, 2016.
BRIDGE OVER RIVER BRAHMAPUTRA
The construction of a bridge is planned over the Brahmaputra River between Dhubri and Phulbari. The Ministry of Road Transport & Highways has awarded the consultancy work to AECOM India Pvt. Ltd in July, 2015 at a value of Rs 697.88 lakh. The scope is to prepare Detailed Project Report this project. The Consultant has submitted the Inception Report and the alignment for the bridge has been approved.