Odisha’s 400km in Centre proposed ‘Bharat Mala’ road network

Bhubaneswar/New Delhi: The Centre is proposing a 5000 km road network to connect the country’s land border and coastal states under a new scheme to be called “Bharat Mala”. In this ambitious plan, Odisha is proposed to get a stretch of 400 km.

The Rs 50,000 crore road network, which is expected to take off later this year, will pass through all bordering states – Nepal, Bangladesh, China, Pakistan and Bhutan. The network will stretch from Gujarat in the west to Mizoram in the east and cover 10 other states, national media reports said.

The new plan will connect all untouched areas in the hinterland to push development and economic activities.

“Besides building the missing links, extension would be done where no road exists at present. These will provide connectivity to the huge number of ports, which will be part of the ‘Sagar Mala’ project. Once completed, these will provide seamless connectivity along the borders, which is crucial for strategic reasons,” said a ministry official.

According to sources, Rajasthan is likely to get a maximum of about 1,000 km road network under this programme while Tamil Nadu and Odisha will also get substantial portion. The roads will provide connectivity from Gujarat in the west to Mizoram in the northeast and across all other major states.

The government hopes to finish the project in five years. The project will start from Gujarat and Rajasthan, move to Punjab and then cover the entire string of Himalayan states – Jammu and Kashmir, Himachal Pradesh, Uttarakhand – and then portions of borders of Uttar Pradesh and Bihar alongside Terai, and move to Sikkim, Assam, Arunachal Pradesh, and right up to the Indo-Myanmar border in Manipur and Mizoram.