By Rajnish Singh
New Delhi, March 14 (IANS) With an average speed of 29.81 km per day, the construction of national highways during 2020-2021 has been the highest ever in the last five years despite the Covid-19 crisis and months of lockdown.
The total length of National Highway construction up to February 5, 2021 is 9,242 km. The daily average length of the National Highways constructed during 2020-21 is to the tune of 29.81 km per day, indicates road construction per day data shared by the Ministry of Road Transport and Highways.
Accessed by IANS, the data mentions that the last highest per day speed was registered in 2018-19. During the year, there was a speed of 29.74 km a day, and a total of 10,855 km roads were constructed.
In 2019-20, a the National Highway construction speed had been 28.04 km per day, and 10,237 km road was constructed during the period.
The National Highway construction showed a remarkable growth during 2017-18 with 26.93 km per day speed compared to 22.55 km in 2016-17 and 16.61 km in 2015-16. A total of 9,829 km roads under National Highways projects were constructed during 2017-18, 8,231 km in 2016-17, and 6,061 km in 2015-16 km.
In 2021-22, the government has fixed a target to construct 12,000 kilometres of National Highways.
The Road Transport Ministry, in its Annual Report (2020-21), has informed that 2020-21 was a year for consolidating the gains that accrued from major policy decisions taken in the previous five years, a time for monitoring of ongoing projects, tackling road-blocks and adding to the already impressive pace of work achieved last year.
The ministry took a decision to complete all ongoing projects that had been awarded up to 2015-16, and placed the highest ever target of construction of at least 11,000 kilometre of National Highways, while aspiring to upscale the construction of about 12,000 km of National Highways as against 10,237 km achieved during 2019-20.
Overall road projects exceeding 55,000 km in length, costing more than Rs 6.26 lakh crore, are in progress, said the Ministry in the data report submitted to a parliamentary panel.
As per the report, National Highways of 7,767 km length have been completed in the first nine months of 2020-21, as against 6,940 km for the corresponding period during the last financial year. “The Ministry has scaled new heights in expanding the Highway infrastructure throughout the country, despite the nation-wide lockdown due to pandemic Covid-19.”
India has the second largest road network in the world of about 62.16 lakh km. This comprises National Highways (1,36,440 km), Expressways (1,76,818 Km), State Highways, Major Roads, other District Roads and village roads. A total of 59,02,539 km are other roads.
Road transport plays a critical role in the economic growth of any country. Set up through an act of Parliament in 1988, the National Highways Authority of India (NHAI) is responsible for the development, maintenance and management of the National Highways entrusted to it and for matters related to it. The NHAI became operational in February 1995.
(Rajnish Singh can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org)