Highway Projects Current Affairs
The National Highways Authority of India (NHAI) has created National Highways Investment Promotion Cell (NHIPC) for attracting domestic and foreign investment for highways projects.
The cell will focus on engaging with global institution investors, developers, construction companies and fund managers for building investor participation in road infrastructure projects.
NHIPC’s primary focus will be to promote foreign and domestic investment in road infrastructure. It will work in close co-ordination with various connected Ministries and Departments of Central Government, State Governments, Apex Business Chambers like FICCI, CII, ASSOCHAM, and InvestIndia etc. It will also work in close co-ordination with Foreign Embassies and Missions in India and Indian Embassies and Missions situated in foreign countries.
The government has set an ambitious target of construction of 35,000 km of national highways in next 5 years involving an investment of Rs 5,35,000 crore under Bharatmala. The Bharatmala is aimed at speeding up cargo movement and development of multimodal logistics hubs and parks on periphery of major commercial centres.
It will include economic corridors (9,000 km), inter-corridor and feeder route (6,000 km), national corridors efficiency improvement (5,000 km), border roads and international connectivity (2,000 km), coastal roads and port connectivity (2,000 km) and greenfield expressways (800 km).
National Highways Authority of India (NHAI)
NHAI is an autonomous agency of the Union Government, responsible for management of a network of over 70,000 km of national highways in India. It was established through National Highways Authority of India Act, 1988. In February 1995, it was formally made an autonomous body. It is a nodal agency of the Union Ministry of Road Transport and Highways. It is responsible for the development, management, operation and maintenance of National Highways.
The National Highways Authority of India (NHAI) will soon get powers to approve highway projects with construction cost of more than Rs 1,000 crore to ensure faster implementation of Bharatmala programme. The programme, along with the proposal to enhance powers of NHAI will soon get Cabinet clearance soon.
Currently, all highway projects entailing construction cost more than Rs 1,000 crore, excluding land is approved by Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs (CCEA). Under the new proposal, only public private partnership (PPP) projects under build-operatetransfer (BOT) model, where viability gap funding (VGF) is to be provided by government, will need CCEA clearance. It will allow NHAI board to approve all engineering procurement and construction and hybrid annuity projects.
Bharatmala envisions 44 economic corridors across country at cost of at least Rs 5 lakh crore. It is aimed at speeding up cargo movement and development of multimodal logistics hubs and parks on periphery of major commercial centres.
The project involves constructing 24,000km of fresh highways. It also includes construction of feeder routes alongside national highways. The Bharatmala corridors have been mapped as per traffic density and economic relevance of cities that will be connected with help of Bhaskaracharya Institute for Space Applications and Geo-informatics.
Around 80% of Bharatmala projects will be government funded, engineering procurement and construction (EPC) model while rest will be a hybrid-annuity public private partnership (PPP).