Friday, 12 December 2014 04:18









A well-knit and coordinated system of transport plays an important role in the sustained economic development of a country. Development being a multi dimensional process; rests upon the resources of the region and infrastructural facilities like transport and communication. It is the transport which helps in movement of goods and materials from producer to consumer ends.

The transport facility increases the linkage between backward and developed regions of the country thus reducing the regional disparity. The transport also helps in maintaining the uniformity in the prices, remove scarcity of goods during time of crisis, promotes national integration and cohesiveness.

The Nagpur plan in 1943 classified the Indian roads into four categories; National Highways, State Highways, District Roads and Village Roads.

National Highways: These are the main highways running through the length and breadth of the country connecting major ports, state capitals, large industrial and tourist centres. The construction and maintenance responsibility of these roads lies with central government. National Highways in India are designated as NH followed by the highway number. The National Highways represent only 2% of the total network length, and they handle about 40% of the total road traffic.

The National Highways are further classified based on the width of carriageway of the Highway. Generally, in case of a single lane, the lane width is of 3.75 metres, while in case of multi-lane National Highways, each of the lanes has a width of 3.5 metres.

As of February 2008, out of the total length, 14% have four or more lanes and about 59% have 2-lanes, while the rest (27%) of the National Highway network has single or intermediate lane.

The National Highways Authority of India (NHAI) is the authority responsible for the development, maintenance and management of National Highways. The NHAI is currently undertaking the developmental activities under National Highways Development Project (NHDP) in phases.

State Highways: The State Highways provide linkages with the National Highways, district headquarters, important towns, tourist centres and minor ports and carry the traffic along major centres within the state. Their total length is about 137,711 km.

The Ministry of State for Surface Transport in India administers the national highway system, and state highways and other state roads are maintained by state public works departments. The central and state governments share responsibilities for road building and maintaining Indian roads.

Maharashtra has the longest network of state highways followed by Gujarat, Karnataka, U.P and Rajasthan.

District Roads: These are important roads within a district connecting areas of production with markets and connecting these with each other or with the State Highways & National Highways. It also connects Taluka headquarters and rural areas to District headquarters within the state.

Village Roads: The rural roads in India form a substantial portion of the Indian road network. For the development of these rural roads, Pradhan Mantri Gram Sadak Yojana (PMGSY) (or "Prime Minister Rural Roads Scheme"), was launched in December 2000 by the Indian government to provide connectivity to unconnected rural habitations. These roads are constructed and maintained by the village panchayats.

The existing road network is showing signs of serious distress because of neglect of maintenance, which is highly uneconomic from the national point of view.  Out of the total length of 65,569 km., about 25,000 km is under severe strain due to high volume of traffic.

One of the main factors responsible for this is - lack of resource. Total estimated cost of removing deficiencies on National Highways is about Rs.1,65,000 crore. The present allocation for maintenance of National Highways is only 40% of the requirements based on the norms for maintenance.  The situation in respect of State roads is still worse.