Back in October 2013, the World Bank signed an accord with the Government of India to develop national highways in the country. July 2014 saw this lead to a 500 million dollars loan agreement between the two parties. A cabinet committee on Economic Affairs, chaired by the Prime Minister, has now approved the phase 1 of the National Highway Interconnectivity Project.
This will, for now, be limited to the states of Karnataka, Odisha, Rajasthan, Bihar and West Bengal. The revised estimated cost of the project has been pegged at Rs 6,461 crores, which is higher than the initially approved sum of Rs 5,193 crores. The cost has increased due to higher bid prices, and increase in the cost of land acquisition, resettlement, rehabilitation and other pre-construction activities.
Located in the economically backward regions of these states, this project will help in safer, faster and all weather movement of traffic. Not only will this help the regions to improve on the standard of living, but also economically. Two-laning of the highway is going to be the key objective of the project. The next phase will further take the idea to more areas of the country.
The project has already seen the groundwork laid for 429 km. Completion of Phase 1 has been set for July 2019. The way the present government has been taking upgradation of our highways seriously is really commendable. The best part is that work is not just being limited to prosperous regions, but also in economically backward lands.
However, the true test will be solved only when these projects are executed fully!