India is in the middle of executing one of the biggest road development programmes undertaken by any country. The two flagship programmes, National Highways Development Programme and Prime Minister’s Gram Sadak Yojana, have been under implementation for quite some time now. These programmes address two key areas of road development: while NHDP focuses on the national highway network which covers only 2 per cent of the total road length but carries 40 per cent of road traffic, PMGSY focuses on rural roads which are ensure connectivity to even the remotest villages.
This was stated by S.N. Das, Director General (Road Development), and Special Secretary, Ministry of Road Transport and Highways, Government of India at the Conference on Infrastructure Equipment – Re-scripting the Growth Story held on the sidelines of bC India 2014. It was organised by Indian Construction Equipment Manufacturers Association.
According to Das, the success of NHDP, under which about 20,000 km of national highways were constructed within a span of about 14 years, averaging about 4 km of road per day, was made possible only due to the adoption of mechanised construction techniques and the influx of modern equipment.
“Developing about 15 km of road length per day and the plan to scale up and speed up this development programme to much higher levels of 30 km of road length per day is a challenge. This means there will be even more emphasis on road and bridge equipment,” he said.
The infrastructure equipment industry should factor this government initiative in their growth and expansion programme and came up with business plans to ensure that supply met demand in the road sector, he observed.
He further stated that both quantity and quality of equipment were important aspects, without which durable and sustainable development was not be possible, particularly at the speed of programme delivery planned by the government. He urged the Indian construction equipment industry to focus on product quality, skill development and smart technology, and become partners in developing capacity and expertise in construction, operation and maintenance of road infrastructure including concrete roads.