National

Cabinet approves mega Rs 7-lakh cr project to develop 83,000 km highways in 5 years

New Delhi: The Union Cabinet on Tuesday approved the biggest ever highway development plan to develop and expand approximately 83,000 km of roads at an investment of Rs 6.9 lakh crore by in the next five years.

As part of country's biggest highway development plan, the government also approved the Phase 1 of Bharatmala project to develop and expand approximately 40,000 km of roads at an investment of Rs 3.5 lakh crore by 2022.

Bharatmala highway project includes connecting border areas, improving international, port and coastal connectivity besides improving highway corridors connecting key economic and commercial hubs.

The announcement may turn out to be the biggest government decision before the upcoming assembly polls.

Aimed at pushing economic activity and generating at least 32 crore man-days across the country in the next five years, the focus of the entire plan is to improve the speed of traffic flow on key corridors by providing uniform four-lane roads between two identified points. Most of these corridors will be shorter and access-controlled for faster movement of cargo vehicles.

According to estimate, due to poor roads, narrow width and congestion, a truck in India cover an only average 250-300 km daily in comparison to 700-800 km in developed countries.

According to government's own estimates, the construction of 10,000 km of highways may generate four crore man-days annually.

The mega-highway development plan will also help the government to counter the Opposition's allegation that government has failed to create jobs in the country.

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