Centre puts Rs 25,000 crore Bharat Mala project on fast track

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Centre puts Rs 25,000 crore Bharat Mala project on fast track

Gadkari said ASEAN and India have also agreed to establish a maritime transport working group among India, Myanmar, Thailand, Cambodia and Vietnam to examine the feasibility of shipping networks.

The Union ministry of Road Transport and Highways has put on fast track the construction of highways along India's international border.

Under Bharat Mala project, the ministry will construct nearly 2,000 km of roads that will connect India's major highways with international trade points.

The ministry will spend Rs 25,000 crore to develop road connectivity with several south Asian countries. Union transport minister Nitin Gadkari said India has proposed USD 1 billion line of credit to promote sea, air and road connectivity projects with ASEAN.

Apart from this, India has set up a project development fund of USD 77 million to develop manufacturing hubs in Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar and Vietnam. "The ASEAN India maritime transport cooperation agreement is being negotiated. An Asian India civil aviation task force has been established to see optimisation of air connectivity," he said.

Gadkari said ASEAN and India have also agreed to establish a maritime transport working group among India, Myanmar, Thailand, Cambodia and Vietnam to examine the feasibility of shipping networks.

According to transport ministry officials, connectivity projects such as the India-Myanmar-Thailand Trilateral Highway, extension of TH to Cambodia, Laos and Vietnam Kaladan Multimodal Transit Transport Project are being planned and are at different stages of implementation.

Officials said the government is already working with Myanmar in the areas of border area development, capacity building, infrastructure development, connectivity projects and institutional development.

"For Bharat Mala project, around 2,000 km with an outlay of Rs 25,000 crore has been earmarked to connect India's major highway corridors to international trade points. This will facilitate export/import trade with Nepal, Bhutan, Bangladesh and Myanmar," Gadkari said.

About BBIN (Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Nepal) Motor Vehicles Agreement, Gadkari said action has been initiated for implementation of BBIN MVA by Bangladesh, India and Nepal. It may be noted that Bharat Mala Pariyojana is the biggest highway development programme initiated by the government.

The project aims to develop over 50,000 km of road network including rural roads, highways and expressways across the country. The Modi government is also touting this project as the biggest infrastructure leap in run up to the 2019 general elections.

The project also envisage developing coastal and port connectivity roads and green field expressways.

Along the Indo-Myanmar border, the government has already started building 120 km of the Kalewa-Yargyi Road segment of the IMT Trilateral Highway. The National Highway Authority of India is the implementing agency for this stretch with an estimated cost of `1,177 crore.

Besides, government has also undertaken upgradation of roads linking Nepal and India border that will be executed by the MEA. A transport ministry official said some other road projects supported by JICA and ADB are also being implemented. JICA has agreed to fund the Northeast connectivity projects.

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