The road to prosperity

Upgrading the quality of roads boosts housing/ tourism projects and creates more jobs

 

Roads are the arteries for economic development. The mega initiatives in road development can be traced to the year 2001 under the leadership of A.B. Vajpayee, Prime Minister of the first NDA government at the Centre.

 

The highlight of the programme was the finalisation of plans and building of the ‘golden quadrilateral’ linking the four metros of Delhi, Kolkata, Chennai and Mumbai, with a length of 5,846 km of superhighway passing through 13 States.

 

The present government has regained the momentum from where the Vajpayee government left. In the interregnum, in the year 2011, a Working Group on Road Sector prepared a plan to build roads and highways during the 12 Plan period from 2012 to 2017. It has kicked off the high voltage action with an outlay of Rs. 1,70,000 crore for infrastructure development in the budget for 2015-16.

 

While the Union budgets for 2014-15 and 2015-16 had allocated huge funds for national highways and waterways development, the accent was on the border States in the North-East. In the years 2015 and 2016 so far, many more projects have come up with highly published inaugurations and stone-laying ceremonies. The most publicised project was the Delhi-Meerut super-highway linking Ghaziabad and Noida on NH-24, inaugurated by the Prime Minister.

 

Initiatives by States

Many States set up independent corporations to take up execution of projects within their jurisdiction. The Karnataka Road Development Corporation Limited (KRDL) was incorporated in 1999 under the Public Works, Ports and Inland Water Transport Department with a vision of “better road network, faster economic growth”.

 

Apart from roads and highways, the KRDL did initiate many other novel projects in Bangalore City such as B-TRAC 2010, a traffic management plan which aims at reduction in traffic congestion, elimination of accidents, minimising pollution, and adherence to traffic laws and rules.

 

Setting up of a trauma care system, coordinated traffic management like institutionalising a traffic task force, setting up of traffic task force, road safety committee, development of a revenue model, legal reforms, and modernisation of traffic training systems are other initiatives of the KRDL. By December 2016, 50,000 km of National Highways will be added to the already existing 1 lakh km length.

 

The action plan is to add 30 km of NH per day.