According to a road ministry official in the know, “Worker health would be the criteria for restarting work. The area where labour is safe can start work and other projects would follow suit.”
The Union government, however, is unlikely to make any distinction between Bharatmala projects and other contracts as far as work commencement is concerned and it would be purely based on labour availability.
The Bharatmala scheme was approved by the Union Cabinet in October 2017, and aims to construct 20,000 km of highways connecting the western and eastern parts of the country at an estimated investment of Rs 7 trillion. In the first phase, to be undertaken over three-five years, the project would cost Rs 5.5 trillion.
The project would be funded through various sources, including Rs 2.09 trillion to be raised from the market, Rs 1.06 trillion through private investment and Rs 2.19 trillion from the central road fund or toll collection.
The maintenance of national highways
is financed from the Central Road Infrastructure Fund (CRIF). Works are executed on agency basis by the public works department of the states, Border Roads Organisation, National Highways
& Infrastructure Development Corporation, and National Highways
Authority of India.