Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi launched the Setu Bharatam programme for building bridges for safe and seamless travel on National Highways, in New Delhi today. Speaking on the occasion he said that a good infrastructure network is vital for the growth and development of a nation. He said that in order to satisfy the aspirations and long felt needs of people it is necessary to bring in a qualitative change and a comprehensive, integrated approach in developing infrastructure in the country.
Speaking on the occasion Road Transport & Highways and Shipping Minister Shri Nitin Gadkari informed that the Setu Bharatam programme aims to make all National Highways free of railway level crossings by 2019. This is being done to prevent the frequent accidents and loss of lives at level crossings. The Minister informed that 208 Railway Over Bridges (ROB)/Railway Under Bridges (RUB) will be built at the level crossings at a cost of Rs. 20,800 crore as part of the programme. The details of 208 ROBs are as follows:
Andhra Pradesh – 33, Assam – 12, Bihar – 20, Chattisgarh – 5, Gujarat – 8, Haryana – 10, Himachal Pradesh – 5, Jharkhand – 11, Karnataka – 17, Kerala – 4, Madhya Pradesh -6, Maharashtra – 12, Odisha – 4, Punjab – 10, Rajasthan – 9, Tamil Nadu – 9, Utarakhand – 2, Uttar Pradesh – 9, West Bengal – 22.
Detailed Project Reports have already been received for 73 ROBs and of these 64 ROBs are likely to be sanctioned with an estimated cost of Rs. 5600 crore by this financial year i.e. 2015-16.
In addition to this, about 1500 old and worn down bridges will also be improved by replacement/widening/strengthening in a phased manner at a cost of about Rs. 30,000 crore. The Ministry has already invited bids for appointing consultancy for preparing Detailed Project Report for this. The target is to award the consultancy work by March, 2016.
The Ministry of Road Transport & Highways has also established an Indian Bridge Management System (IBMS) at the Indian Academy for Highway Engineer in Noida, U.P. The aim is to carry out conditions survey and inventorization of all bridges on National Highways in India by using Mobile Inspection Units. 11 consultancy firms have been appointed for this purpose. Till now inventorization of 50,000 bridges has been done. The first cycle of the survey is expected to be completed by June 2016. This data base will be the largest of its kind and will also help in smoothening the movement of Over-Dimension and Over-Weight consignments on National Highways.