In 2015, the Sagarmala project was formally rolled out by the government - its strategic investment initiative targeted towards improving port connectivity, port mechanisation and modernisation at a total investment of Rs 5 lakh crore over a period of five to ten years. Establishing coastal industrial clusters around developed ports and the development of six new mega ports are also part of the programme. Thus, Sagarmala focuses on various aspects of marine and land infrastructure development to achieve the targeted economic goals. Meanwhile, the Bharatmala Pariyojana, another flagship programme, is targeted towards enhancement of road connectivity across the country. It received Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs (CCEA) approval in October 2017 for a capital outlay of Rs 5.35 lakh crore in Phase-I, of which Rs 20,000 crore will be utilised for the development of roads around ports.
Under Sagarmala, over 2,100 km of coastal roads have been identified to be built along the coastline, which would improve the connectivity of Indian ports to business and trade hubs.
Thus, Bharatmala, by virtue of its focus on road development connecting Indian ports, will complement the progress being made under the Sagarmala programme to date and allow it to focus more on other aspects of port infrastructure development.
With an exclusive interview with Union Minister Nitin Gadkari and perspectives from movers and shakers in the roads and ports sectors, CW charts the big construction and infrastructure opportunities that both programmes will unleash.