NEW DELHI: The road transport and highways ministry’s ambitious programme to construct 44 economic corridors at a cost of Rs 5 lakh crore is likely to get the Cabinet’s approval soon.
The project involves construction of 24,000 km of new highways, as well as feeder routes alongside these roads. It is aimed at faster movement of cargo, along with developing multimodal logistics hubs and parks on the periphery of major commercial centres. “We have sent it (the proposal) to the Cabinet for approval. The nod is expected soon,” a senior road ministry official said.
Around 80% of the total work would be government-funded engineering procurement and construction (EPC) projects, the official said. The remaining would be undertaken as public-private partnerships under the hybrid annuity model. The government will spend more than Rs 4 lakh crore on its own on the project in the next five years.
In a recent interview with ET, road transport and highways minister Nitin Gadkari said his ministry can rely on off-budgetary funding mechanisms such as raising funds through National Highways Authority of India bonds from Life Insurance Corporation, Provident Fund Organisation and other institutional investors to undertake large-scale highway development projects.
The Public Investment Board, headed by the expenditure secretary, had given its clearance to the economic corridor project a couple of months ago. A draft cabinet note was floated after that. “The first phase of the project will be kickstarted early next year. We intend to take up those projects first that could be delivered in two years,” the official said.
Detailed project reports for the economic corridors, which would primarily be access-controlled highways with earmarked industrial development alongside, are being prepared by global consultancy firm AT Kearney.