Skip to main content

Funds, land acquisition issues rock Modi's ambitious Bharatmala highway plan

By Our Representative
The Narendra Modi government has said that it will be spending Rs 14,000 crore for the Prime Minister’s "ambitious" plan to complete the Bharat Mala project, linking Gujarat in the west with Mizoram in the east, but even before it could kickstart, doubts have been expressed about its costs. Meant to “garland” the territory of India, a recent estimate suggests that it would cost at least 53,000 crore or $9 billion.
A top New York-based media group, in a recent expert analysis has called the project as “simply too ambitious”, pointing out, “Building one kilometre of highway in India, according to industry estimates, requires a minimum of about Rs10 crore ($1.5 million). By that measure, constructing 5,300 kilometres of new highway will cost the government, somewhere around Rs 53,000 crore ($9 billion).”
“Presumably, the government will reach out to the private sector for additional funding, but there might not be enough appetite in India Inc. for such a project”, article says, quoting a top expert with the consultants, Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu, as saying, “Most of the funding will have to come from the government itself,” said Vishwas Udgirkar, a partner at consultancy firm.
“These routes will not see heavy traffic and that would mean that the private sector does not see potential”, the expert has pointed out, adding, “Putting out that sort of money won’t exactly be easy for the government either, which has been struggling to cut expenditure, and restrain the fiscal deficit.”
Pointing out that India’s road sector has itself been in a “complete mess”, the article says, “Until January 2014, as many as 161 projects — worth some Rs 83,000 crore — out of a total of 220 projects awarded under the public-private-partnership (PPP) mode were unfinished.”
And, it says, “between April 2014 and January 2015, the road ministry completed construction of only about 3,038 kilometres of road against a target of 6,300 kilometres.” Yet, it wonders why is the Modi government going ahead with planning to complete “construction of 30 kilometres of road per day for the next two years.”
Quoting yet another consultant, Vinayak Chatterjee, chairman at Feedback Infra, the article says, “There is a huge agenda already pending before the road sector both at the central and state level, including challenging areas such as the borders. The announcement of such a project could improve greater confidence if accompanied by scientific traffic flow estimates on the proposed alignment.”
Things are going to be easy another count, the article says: “The Government of India will have to acquire an enormous ribbon of land that could stretch across as many as 13 states. After beginning in Gujarat, the Bharat Mala project will cut through Rajasthan and Punjab.”
Then, it says, the highway will “cover all the Himalayan states—Jammu and Kashmir, Himachal Pradesh, Uttarakhand—before moving to Uttar Pradesh and Bihar”, and “finally touch northeastern states of Sikkim, Assam, Arunachal Pradesh, Manipur and Mizoram.”
The article quotes state roads secretary Vijay Chhibber as saying, “Our idea is to plan for a structured programme for building roads along our borders, especially the northern borders.” But it comments, “Acquiring land across such an expansive stretch won’t be easy. For India’s National Highway Authority, the lead government organisation for road construction in India, the inability to acquire land has been a massive problem.”
“During the review meetings, it is observed that the land acquisition is one of the reasons for delay of completion of projects”, the article further quotes Pon Radhakrishnan, minister of state for roads, as saying last month, adding, “Over 600 road projects in India are currently delayed due to land acquisition problems.”

Comments

TRENDING

'Wedding of the century': What does Mukesh Ambani want to prove by such extravaganza?

By NS Venkataraman*  Mukesh  Ambani,   a renowned Indian industrialist who is said to be the richest person in India and  one of the richest persons in the world,   has just now conducted the wedding celebration of  his son in Mumbai,   with unheard level of lavishness in India.

A Hindu alternative to Valentine's Day? 'Shiv-Parvati was first love marriage in Universe'

By Rajiv Shah*   The other day, I was searching on Google a quote on Maha Shivratri which I wanted to send to someone, a confirmed Shiv Bhakt, quite close to me -- with an underlying message to act positively instead of being negative. On top of the search, I chanced upon an article in, imagine!, a Nashik Corporation site which offered me something very unusual. 

Swami Vivekananda's views on caste and sexuality were 'painfully' regressive

By Bhaskar Sur* Swami Vivekananda now belongs more to the modern Hindu mythology than reality. It makes a daunting job to discover the real human being who knew unemployment, humiliation of losing a teaching job for 'incompetence', longed in vain for the bliss of a happy conjugal life only to suffer the consequent frustration.

'28% rise in sedition cases': Top global NGO alliance rates India's civil space 'repressed'

By Rajiv Shah Rating India's civic space as repressed , Civicus, a global civil society alliance, in its new report submitted to the UN Human Rights Committee (UNHRC) on the state of civic space in the country has said that the use of sedition law against the Modi government’s critics continues. "Under the government of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, sedition cases have increased by 28 per cent with over 500 cases against more than 7,000 people", it says.

'Modi govt's assault on dissent': Foreign funds of top finance NGO blocked

By Rajiv Shah  In a surprise move, the Ministry of Home Affairs, Government of India, has cancelled the foreign funding license of the well-known advocacy group, Centre for Financial Accountability (CFA), known for critically examining India's finance and banking sectors from human rights and environmental angle.

How US is using Tibetans to provoke conflict with China 'ignoring' India

By Lobsang Tenzin*  On July 12, US President Joe Biden signed the Resolve Tibet Act, and Tibetans cheered for it, believing that the law promotes a resolution of the dispute between Tibet and China. Is this true? First, let's look at the issue of the ownership of Tibet. 

How embracing diversity enriched my life, brought profound sense of joy

By Mike Ghouse*  If you can shed the bias towards others, you'll love the connections with every human that God or his systems have created. This gives a sense of freedom and brings meaning and joy to life. Embracing and respecting how people dress, eat, and practice their beliefs becomes an enriching experience.

Post-poll mob lynching spree, bulldozer justice: NAPM seeks united resistance

Counterview Desk  Condemning what it calls "the horrific spree of mob lynchings across the country after the Lok Sabha election results", India's premier civil society network, National Alliance of People’s Movements (NAPM), has called for "united resistance" against "hateful communal politics, mob lynching of religious minorities and caste-based oppression".

Maharashtra govt's proposed bill may be used against 'dissenting' journalists, writers, filmmakers, artists

Counterview Desk  The People’s Union for Civil Liberties (PUCL), Maharashtra, strongly objecting to what it calls “repressive and unconstitutional” Maharashtra Special Public Security Bill 2024, has demanded the proposed law be scrapped in its entirety. In its Statement of Objects and Reasons for the Bill, PUCL noted,  the broad and non-descript label of ‘urban naxal’ has been used, which is actually a “common slur used for any citizen who expresses their opposition to state policy or is not aligned with right-wing majoritarian views."