What is Setu Bharatam?
The project Setu Bharatam was launched by the Prime Minister Narendra Modi on 4th March 2016. The Prime Minister has declared a budget of Rs. 102 billion (US$ 1.5 billion) for the Project Setu Bharatam. The aim of the project is to free all the national highways from railway crossing by the year 2019.
The government has decided to construct around 208 rail over and under bridges at railway crossings on the National Highways. It also focuses on widening 1,500 bridges which were constructed in the British period and rehabilitation or replacement in a phased manner at a cost of Rs 208 billion and Rs. 300 billion respectively.
The Setu Bharatam Program clearly shows us the idea of the government which is trying to focus on big projects instead of the small ones so that the condition of infrastructure could also develop. Being a part of the project, the bridges are supposed to be constructed all over India so that there is no need for a vehicle to stop which are in motion on national highways because of railway tracks.
Why Setu Bharatam?
According to the data available with the government, a large number of people lose their life or limb. Therefore, keeping safety in mind the government has started the Setu Bharatam Program. Considering the importance of road safety, the government is spending around Rs 100 Crore for constructing a bridge. The Prime Minister Mr. Narendra Modi has launched this program for safe and seamless travel on the National Highways.
Along with safety the government also wants to improve the infrastructure of the country. Today, to stand abreast to the major powers of the world, India needs qualitative change in Indian Railways and the road. This could only be achieved with proper planning and implementation. Therefore, the planning should be done in such a way that the output and benefits could be enjoyed by everyone living in the country.
Targeting the bridges and grading them is an important task of the Program Setu Bharatam. Since independence, India never gave much importance to the travel industry or more specifically the railway industry, so, this is considered to be a huge step in development of this industry.
The government believes that a strong infrastructure will contribute to the development and growth of the country. The project operates for satisfying the aspirations of the common people. This project also focuses on the long term growth of the country. It was only after this that maps of bridges was added to the list of maps and how shocking it is to know that the country was without such an important map. Some of the points are:
- Roadways and the Highways carry bulk of materials and crossings slow down their speed.
- Limited capacity of railways and excess utilization.
- The highways could be connected to various roads providing quick travel to various parts.
- This program will be a time, resource and money savvy for everyone.
Budget of Setu Bharatam
The Prime Minister has sanctioned a budget of Rs. 102 billion. The detailed projects report has been declared which covers over 73 railway over bridge from which 64 will be consuming the budget of Rs. 5600 Crore. For each bridge, the government will have to spend approximately rupees one Crore.
The program has a wide coverage, as it not only focuses on constructing new bridges but also in renovating the old ones. More than 1500 old and worn out bridges will also be renovated and improved at a cost of Rs 30,000 Crore.
Aim of Setu Bharatam Project
National Highway Free of Railway Crossings: All the bridges which are covered under Setu Bharatam Program would be depicted on a map that will be made by the Indian Bridge Management system. According to the program, 1,50,000 bridges will be under the scheme. The Setu Bharatam program aims to make all National Highways free of railway level crossing by the year 2019. This will bring relief to those who travel frequently on those highway and had to wait at the railway crossing.
Safety of the People: Accidents on highways are very common in India. Therefore, this program is looking forward to prevent frequent accidents and loss of lives at the railway level crossing. The government planned to construct 208 railway over bridges at level crossings with the budget of Rs. 20,800 Crore. The details about these railway over bridges are:
Development of Infrastructure: A country can flourish when the infrastructure is very strong. With this program the government also aims to develop the infrastructure of the travel industry.
Setu Bharatam & IBMS
IBMS stands for Indian Bridge Management system which is established by the Ministry of Road Transport and Highways. The IBMS is established at the Indian Academy for Highway Engineer in Noida, Uttar Pradesh.
The primary aim of Setu Bharatam is to carry out conditions survey and invention of all bridges on the national highways with the help Mobile Inspection units. Around 11 firms have been set up for fulfilling this purpose. Around 50,000 bridges have been invented till now and the first cycle of survey was completed in June 2016. This will help in resolving the problem of traffic in India and creating a map of bridges.
Objectives of Setu Bharatam
- The primary objective of the Setu Bharatam is to make the national highways free from railway crossing by the year 2019 and is been operating in the same direction since 4th march 2016 when it was first launched by the Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
- Bridges are to be built in the country so that the vehicles passing through the national highways do not have to wait for long at the railway crossings.
- There will be around 280 under and over railway tracks bridges would be constructed with around Rs. 100 Crore as expresses by the Government.
- The government is planning for everyone, even those who lives in rural places by developing roads at these regions.
- Under the schemes such as the Pradhan Mantri Gram Sadak Yojana, around Rs. 19,000 crore has been collected in the year 2016-17 and with this the union government has already started the construction work of bridges.
- For 73 bridges, the government has already received the project report.
- Around 64 bridges would get the green signal at the end of the year 2016.
- The expected cost of the entire construction is around Rs. 5600 Crore.
- In building bridge, scientific techniques such as measurement of distance, longitude, latitude, material, designs etc would be used.
- At the area where activity of construction is in progress, the railways cannot run there. Therefore, alternative rail gauges and lines should be made before the construction.
- The development of railways should also be given priority and with this the citizen will be enjoying the developed railways.
Advantages of Setu Bharatam
The following are the advantages of the program which started in the year 2016:
- It is a long term scheme in which the government is planning to develop railways, roadways, highways and infrastructure all together.
- It focuses on the safety of the individuals.
- It saved the time and money of those who use highways, like the producers and the consumers of the raw material will get a quick delivery and will be economical for them.
- The program will provide speed, power and strength to the development of the country.
- With railways, there goes water and electric supply, so these regions will get a better facility related to the supply of water, electricity and other benefits.
- The scheme will also increase the employment in rural areas.
Loopholes of Setu Bharatam Project
- The process of construction is very slow and the government is unable to achieve what it was targeting at the beginning. Setu Bharatam scheme proposed to build many railway over and under bridges and out of 208 planned railway over bridges, 24 has been constructed and the work of under bridges is yet to start.
- Fluctuations in the number of bridges which were initially planned.
- The construction is also borne by respective states, and therefore they may raise the cost of land for construction.
- There are many formalities which need to be fulfilled before starting the construction. They are, closing the railway crossings, prepare another lines, raising budget by the state government, advance action of land acquisition etc. These pre-requisites create hurdles.
The speed is very slow and with this speed it is not possible for the government to finish the task within the estimated time period. There are certain loopholes in the scheme which needs to be ratified for proper functioning of the plan. Co ordination among the center and the state should strengthen for proper implementation of the program.
Importance of Setu Bharatam
Though the scheme has certain loopholes but it has the capacity to develop our country. The scheme has up lifted modernization and advancement in the infrastructure which is going to promote development in the country. With this program safe travelling system will also develop which will secure the precious live of individuals.