Government may soon come up with an ambitious Rs 3-lakh-crore Economic Corridor project to develop 35,000 km of highways for faster movement of freight.
This would be the second largest project in the sector after the flagship road building programme of NHDP which saw development of 50,000 km of National Highways network as per global standards including the Golden Quadrilateral project.
The Golden Quadrilateral project aims at connecting all four metropolises and North-South Corridor connecting Srinagar to Kayakumari and East-West Corridor joining Porbandar to Silchar.
"A Road Transport and Highways Ministry-appointed study for economic corridors by global consultancy firm AT Kearney has identified 40 such economic corridors totaling about 35,000 km," a Road Transport and Highways Ministry official told PTI.
The project is aimed at faster movement of cargo and would not only under developing economic corridors with a length of about 21,000 km but also developing 14,000 km of feeder routes, i.e. providing connectivity to logistic hubs, the official said.
"A rough estimate suggests about Rs three lakh crore on the project and the scheme is being finalised," he said.
The economic corridors include Mumbai-Cochin-Kanyakumari, Bangalore-Mangalore, Hyderabad-Panji and Sambalpur-Ranchi to name a few, the official added.
The official said the project would be taken into phases and would be awarded under various modes that include build, operate, transfer (BOT) toll mode and the newer hybrid annuity mode (HAM) under which the while the government provides 40 per cent of the project cost the developer has to arrange for remaining 60 per cent.
Once completed the economic corridors would reduce the travel time and result in reduction in logistics costs.
Road Transport and Highways Minister Nitin Gadkari has been stressing on the need for reducing logistics cost in the country from the present 18 per cent.
Noting that high logistics cost has been one of the major bottlenecks in trade and business the Minister has been stressing the need to develop innovative methods for transport.
The proposed Economic Corridor is planned to overtake Ministry's National Grid Project where NHAI has prepared a plan for grid connectivity through 27 horizontal and vertical highways.