Road Transport & Highways Minister Nitin Gadkari said that the focus of the ministry will be on creating a world-class network of expressways.
The Prime Minister in May 2018 inaugurated the 135 km Eastern Peripheral Expressway (EPE), built in a record time of 500 days. It is India's first green and smart highway which was built at a cost of Rs 11,000 crore. The expressway is lit by solar power and includes provisions for rain water harvesting, auto challan system and intelligent highway traffic management system.
Minister Gadkari stated that work worth Rs 10 lakh crore had been done across highways, shipping, ports and inland waterways. "Now we are aiming to award work for Rs 6,000 km under Bharatmala initiative."
A mega plan to build 83,677 km of highways in five years at a cost of about Rs 7 lakh crore had been approved by the government, which included the Bharatmala scheme.
The Road Transport and Highways Ministry has constructed a total of 5,759 km of national highways till November this fiscal, as against a target of 10,000 km. At present the total length of the National Highways (NHs) is 1.31 lakh km, up from 91,287 km earlier. The Minister maintained that the work done on the highways sector in last four years, exceeds the work done in the last fifty years.