Bharat Mala Project is an ambitious road development initiative launched under the Ministry of Road Transport and Highways. The project aims to improve connectivity to coastal/border areas, ports, backward areas, religious / tourist sites and 100 district headquarters.
The project aims to build 7000 kms of national highways to connect the western and the eastern borders of India. The project will start from start from Gujarat and Rajasthan, move to Punjab, then cover the entire stretch of Himalayan States (J&K, HP, Uttrakhand, and then portions of borders of UP and Bihar. It will finally move to Sikkim, Assam, Arunachal Pradesh right up to the Indo-Myanmar border in Manipur and Mizoram.
The east-to-west road network developed will eventually be linked to the road networks in coastal states from Maharashtra to West Bengal. Graphically in the map, these two road networks will as it were garland the entire territory of India. Hence, it is known as Bharat Mala Project.
Bharat Mala Project has great strategic importance for the nation. After the road network is created to pass through all Indian states bordering with neighboring countries, the armed forces will be able to easily access and traverse border areas. Due to good condition of roads, supply of troops as well as military transportation will be faster and more efficient. Besides, the country will have opportunities to engage in border trade with neighboring countries.
The road network will pass through all the Indian states bordering with Pakistan, Nepal, China, Bhutan and Bangladesh.
By building transport infrastructure in mountainous, backward, poorer and remote border areas, it will benefit these areas where economic activity and connectivity is low. With connectivity, there is hope for massive development, urbanization and real estate growth.
The construction, strengthening and widening of approximately 200 ROBs/RUBs on national highways will ensure faster road vehicular and train movements. It will also ensure road safety by eliminating railway crossing which is the cause of major accidents in Indian roads.
The project will develop 44 economic (freight) corridors, inter corridors and feeder routes which will help in faster and cost-efficient movement of cargo.
National Highways Authority of India (NHAI) has invited bids for preparing Detailed Project Reports (DPRs) for the project. Work will begin after land acquisition and environment clearance is completed. The government will fund most of road project, but several works will also be taken up in the public-private partnership (PPP) approach.
The Bharat Mala Project is targeted to be completed by 2022.