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Extension of Bharatmala Pariyojana Phase-I Deadline

Context:

The government has extended the deadline for the completion of the flagship highway development project, Bharatmala Pariyojana Phase-I, to 2027-28. This decision comes in the wake of a significant increase in the estimated cost of the project by over 100%, indicating a slowdown in implementation and financial constraints.

Relevance:

GS II: Government Policies and Interventions

Dimensions of the Article:

  1. Bharatmala Pariyojana Overview
  2. Enhancing Project Efficiency: The Way Forward

Bharatmala Pariyojana Overview

Introduction:

  • Bharatmala Pariyojana is a comprehensive program initiated by the Ministry of Road Transport and Highways.

Phases and Timeline:

  • The first phase of Bharatmala was introduced in 2017 with an initial completion target of 2022.
Salient Features:
  • Enhanced Effectiveness:
    • Focuses on maximizing the efficiency of existing infrastructure.
  • Multi-Modal Integration:
    • Aims to seamlessly integrate different modes of transportation.
  • Bridging Infrastructure Gaps:
    • Addresses gaps in infrastructure for smooth movement.
  • National and Economic Corridors:
    • Integrates both national and economic corridors for comprehensive development.
Key Program Features:
  • Economic Corridors Integration:
    • Enhances connectivity between economically vital production and consumption centers.
  • Inter-Corridor and Feeder Routes:
    • Ensures connectivity for the first mile and last mile.
  • National Corridor Efficiency Improvement:
    • Focuses on lane expansion and decongestion of existing national corridors.
  • Border and International Connectivity Roads:
    • Improves border road infrastructure for maneuverability and boosts trade with neighboring countries.
  • Coastal and Port Connectivity Roads:
    • Strengthens connectivity to coastal areas, fostering both tourism and industrial development.
  • Green-Field Expressways:
    • Introduces expressways to address traffic congestion and enhance efficiency.

Project Status:

  • As of November 2023, 42% of the project, equivalent to 15,045 km, has been completed.
Challenges:
  • Cost Factors:
    • Challenges include the cost of raw materials and increased land acquisition expenses.
  • High-Speed Corridor Construction:
    • Challenges associated with constructing high-speed corridors.
  • Goods and Services Tax (GST) Impact:
    • Increased GST rates pose a challenge to the project’s progress.

Enhancing Project Efficiency: The Way Forward

Strategic Procurement:
  • Examine Procurement Methods:
    • Assess strategic procurement methods for acquiring raw materials at competitive prices.
  • Negotiations with Suppliers:
    • Actively participate in negotiations with suppliers to secure favorable rates, especially during market fluctuations.
Land Acquisition Practices:
  • Efficient and Transparent Practices:
    • Implement efficient and transparent land acquisition practices to mitigate compensation disputes.
  • Exploration of Alternatives:
    • Explore alternatives such as land pooling and community engagement to streamline the land acquisition process.
High-Speed Corridors:
  • Thorough Feasibility Studies:
    • Conduct comprehensive feasibility studies before incorporating high-speed corridors to ensure their viability.
  • Optimized Corridor Designs:
    • Optimize corridor designs to strike a balance between functionality and cost-effectiveness.
GST Policies:
  • Advocacy for Stability:
    • Advocate for stable and predictable GST policies to reduce uncertainties in the project.
  • Engagement with Authorities:
    • Engage with government authorities to provide industry insights on the potential impact of tax rate changes.

-Source: The Hindu


February 2024
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