Cabinet nod likely for Rs 5 lakh crore roads project

The project involves constructing 24,000 km of new highways and feeder routes alongside.

The Cabinet might soon approve the Road, Transport & Highway Minsitry's Rs 5lakh crore programme to construct 44 economic corridors.The project will involve constructing 24,000 km of new highways and feeder routes alongside these roads. The aim is to make cargo movement faster, and develop multi-modal 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 and 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. 
The Road, Transport & Highways Minister Nitin Gadkari recently said that his ministry can rely on off-budgetary funding mechanisms, such as raising funds through National Highways Authority of India bonds from LIC, 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, following which, a draft Cabinet note was floated. “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. 

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