Bharatmala Pariyojana to get delayed by five years: Centre in Parliament
The government’s flagship programme for national highways, Bharatmala Pariyojana (BMP) Phase-I, — initially proposed to be completed by 2022 — will now be completed by 2027.
The government’s flagship programme for national highways, Bharatmala Pariyojana (BMP) Phase-I, — initially proposed to be completed by 2022 — will now be completed by 2027 and owing to the five-year delay, the estimated project cost has doubled from ₹5.35 lakh crore to ₹10.63 lakh crore.
This information was furnished by the Union ministry of road transport and highways before the parliamentary standing committee on transport, tourism and culture, which presented its latest report on road infrastructure in the Rajya Sabha on Monday.
“The committee is deeply concerned to note that though the original timeline for Bharatmala Phase-I targeted its completion by 2021-22, only 20,632 km (59.28%) has been awarded while 7,375 km (21.19%) has been constructed by December, 2022 out of the overall target of 34,800 km. This has led to the targeted timeline for completion, now being estimated in the financial year 2027, while the estimated cost of BMP Phase-I has almost doubled from ₹ 5.35 lakh crores to ₹10.63 lakh crores,” the panel’s report, seen by HT, stated.
The government’s ambitious infrastructure programme was approved by the Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs on October 24, 2017. Under BMP Phase-1, 34,800 km of national highways are supposed to be built or upgraded. The targeted deadline back then was five years, at an estimated outlay of ₹5,35,000 crore.
National Highways Authority of India (NHAI) chairperson Alka Upadhyaya said that all the works under the BMP-Phase 1 will be awarded latest by 2024. “Our award position has improved this year (2021-22) and the same momentum will continue in the financial year 2022-23.In the current year, till February, we awarded 3,290km and we are hopeful to touch 5,000km by end of this month,” she said.
Upadhyaya added that in FY 2022-23, the NHAI aims to award works for another 10,000 km. “So, the project will pick up pace. By 2024, work for all sections, be it Greenfield expressways or access controlled expressways, among others under BMP Phase-1, will be awarded,” she said.
A senior transport official said the delays happened because of the Covid-19 as it became difficult to get the workers back to sites in 2020 and 2021. “The cost escalation is not just the outcome of the delay, but also the spiralling prices of raw materials and labour,” the official said, pleading anonymity.