New Delhi: The National Democratic Alliance (NDA) is looking to connect select stations under its flagship roads and highways project to cut infrastructure costs. The central government is expected to launch seven greenfield projects to construct 3,000km of expressways under the ₹ 5.35 trillion Bharatmala scheme. In the first phase, the road network is set to connect Delhi-Vadodara, Chennai-Salem in Tamil Nadu, Kharagpur-Siliguri in West Bengal, Delhi-Bilaspur, Durg-Aurang in Chhattisgarh, Mangaluru-Chitradurga in Karnataka and Ambala-Kathputli in Haryana.
The longest stretch of 1,000km will be built between Delhi and Vadodara.
According to the road ministry’s estimates, the greenfield projects would cost 40-60% less than expansion of brownfield projects, given that land prices in brownfield projects are over twice the cost of land elsewhere.
“The new alignments will help in three ways. One, it will reduce the land acquisition cost substantially. Two, the new alignments will shorten the distance between two stations and make life easy for road commuters. Three, the new alignments will help join backward areas with mainstream infrastructure, leading to economic development in these areas," said a senior government official, requesting anonymity.
He added that after decades, the government is going to experiment with new alignments for expressways.
The government has hired consultancy firm AT Kearney to undertake the detailed project report for the greenfield expressways. The report is likely to be ready within four-six months.
A senior National Highways Authority of India (NHAI) official said the projects are going to be expressways with six or eight lanes depending on the costs.
Bharatmala Pariyojana is an umbrella programme for the highways sector under the ministry of road transport and highways, which focuses on optimizing efficiency of freight and passenger movement across the country.
The programme aims to bridge critical infrastructure gaps by developing economic corridors, inter-corridors and feeder routes, besides improving national corridor efficiency, border and international connectivity roads, coastal and port connectivity roads and greenfield expressways.
Under the first phase of the Bharatmala project, 24,800km of roads and highways will be built over five years for an estimated cost of ₹ 5.35 trillion.