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Indian road network is the second highest with 42.36 lakh km of length. It comprises 70,934 km National Highways, 1,54,522 km of State Highways, 25,77,396 km of Major District Roads and other District Roads & 14,33,577 km of rural roads .

The National Highways serve as the arterial network of the country. The development of National Highways is the responsibility of the Government of India. The Government of India has launched major initiatives to upgrade and strengthen National Highways through various phases of National Highways Development project (NHDP) Phase-I to Phase-VII which are briefly as under:

Phase I

NHDP Phase I approved by Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs (CCEA) in December 2000 comprises mostly of GQ (5,846 km) and NS-EW Corridor (981km), port connectivity (356 km) and others (315 km). Under Golden Quadrilateral only 19 km remain to be completed.

Phase II

Approved in December 2003 comprises mostly NS-EW Corridor (6,161 km) and other National Highways of 486 km length, the total length being 6,647 km. The total length of Phase II is 6,647 km. Phase-II is targeted for completion by December 2011. 5733 km (80.2 %) of NS-EW corridor is completed till June 2011.

Phase III

It consists of upgradation and 4 laning of 12190 km of National Highways. Construction of 2351 km under NHDP-Phase-III is completed till June 2011. The target for NHDP Phase-III for completion is December 2013.

Phase IV

Under this 20000 km planned to be constructed as 2 - laning with paved shoulders. Out of this, the Government has approved in July, 2008 the proposal upgradation/ strengthening of 5,000 km of single/intermediate/two lane NHs to 2-lane standards with paved shoulders under NHDP Phase-IVA on BOT (Toll) and BOT (Annuity) basis at an estimated cost of Rs. 6,950 crore. So far, 5 projects aggregating to 719 km length has been awarded by NHAI and 1 project of 108 km length has been awarded by Madhya Pradesh Road Development Corporation (MPRDC). In addition to the above identified list of 5,000 km under NHDP-IVA, about 15,000 km have been identified so far by this Ministry on the basis of recommendations received from various State Governments, NHAI and inter assessment. Phase-IV is targeted for completion by December 2015 as per the financing plan.

Phase V

It comprises six laning of 6,500 km includes 5,700 km of GQ and other (800 km) stretches on Design Build Finance and operation (DBFO) basis. Phase-V is targeted for completion by December 2012. 619 km of six laning is completed under NHDP-Phase-V till June 2011.

Phase VI

The Government has approved construction of 1000 km of Expressway under NHDP Phase-VI at a cost of Rs. 16,680 crore on DBFO basis. NHDP Phase-VI is targeted for completion by December, 2015.


It includes construction of 700 km of ring roads/bypasses and flyovers and selected stretches. NHDP Phase-VII is targeted for completion by December, 2014.

Port Connectivity

The NHDP inter alia includes port connectivity projects for improvement of roads connecting 12 major Ports in the country. Programme for connectivity to Major Ports was approved in December, 2000 for 393 km (connectivity to Kandla for 56 km on NH-8 was on-going. Hence, total length is 449 km).

The Government under its various phased programmes sanctioned an amount of Rs.1896 crore on 10 major projects in the country for port connectivity. These phased programmes also include one project for four-lane connectivity to the International Container Transshipment Terminal (ICTT) at Cochin at a cost of Rs.557 crore. Similarly, another project on Build-Operate-Transfer (BOT) basis, at a cost of Rs.1655 crore, was sanctioned for construction of an elevated road for Chennai Port to Maduravoyal. Most of the major ports in the country were likely to be connected by four lane connectivity projects. Among these projects, the JNPT Phase-I and II, Paradip Port in Odisha and Visakhapatnam project in Andhra Pradesh have been completed. The projects, at the remaining ports, are at various stages of completion. Kolkatta Port connectivity project was dropped since the proposed alignment was passing through defense land which was not made available. Mumbai port connectivity project was also dropped since the proposed alignment was passing through salt pan areas. Therefore, out of 12 major ports 2 (Kolkata and Mumbai) were dropped, on one (Kandla) the work was already in progress and now it has been completed. In the remaining projects the work is either complete or in progress at various stages.

The Government has given top priority to the development of national highways which will facilitate the overall development of road infrastructure and transport sector at a faster rate.

New Initiatives

The Ministry has taken initiatives to develop 6,700 km of single lane/intermediate lane NHs to minimum 2 lane standards on corridor concept keeping in view the targets stipulated in the Eleventh Plan for accelerated efforts to bring NHs network to a minimum of two-lane standard. The program is targeted to be completed by 2014. A length of 3770 km (33 Stretches) is proposed to be funded from a World Bank loan of US $ 2.96 billion and the balance length is proposed to be taken up through budgetary resources. A preparation of DPR for all the 33 stretches is nearing completion. Stretches having length more than 25 km in plain terrain or more than 15 km in hilly/rolling terrain and costing less than Rs 150 crore are being considered for taking up through budgetary provisions.

Road Development in Extremism Affected Areas

The Government has approved approved in February 2009 scheme estimated to cost about Rs. 7,300 crore for development of NHs and State roads in Extremism affected areas. It includes 34 districts in eight States namely, Andhra Pradesh, Bihar, Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Orissa and Uttar Pradesh. Under the scheme, development of identified stretches of NHs (1202 km) and State roads (4363 km) to two lane standards are planned to be taken up in a phased manner. An allocation of Rs. 1,200 crore has been made from GBS under Annual Plan during 2011-12 for this programme. The total additional fund requirement for this programme for the Eleventh Five Year Plan is Rs. 5,376 crore. Sanction has been issued so for 186 works for 4,967 km costing Rs. 6,629 crore. Out of these, 146 works for 3,889 km length costing Rs. 4,827 crore have been awarded.

Special Accelerated Road Development Programme for North-East Region (SARDP-NE): Phase ‘A’ of SARDP-NE approved by the Government envisages improvement of about 4,099 km length of roads (2,041 km NHs and 2,058 km State roads). The SARDP-NE Phase-A is expected to be completed by March, 2015. Phase ‘B’ of SARDP-NE, covering 3,723 km (1,285 km NH and 2,438 km State road), has been approved for DPR preparation only and so far DPRs for about 450 km has been completed. So far, about 742 km length has been completed under SARDP-NE Phase-A till May 2011. It is targeted to complete 270 km roads during 2011-12.

The Arunachal Pradesh Package for Road and Highways involving development of about 2,319 km length of road (1,472 km is NHs & 847 km is State/General Staff/Strategic roads) has also been approved by the Government. Projects on 776 km are to be taken up on BOT (Annuity) mode and the balance 1,543 km is to be developed on EPC basis. The entire Arunachal Package is targeted for completion by June 2016. The status of Projects under this Programme is as follows:

BOT(Annuity) Projects – 2 Projects awarded in 58 km costing Rs. 1,553 crore; tendering for 3rd time completed for remaining 2 projects for balance 718 km & projects are on the verge of award.

EPC Projects –sanctioned 359 km; under tendering 25 km; under process for sanction 118 km; DPRs under preparation for balance 900 km; target for award of all civil works – March, 2012.

Progress of works under Major Projects

In order to make a visible impact, the Ministry has targeted to accomplish construction of National Highways at the pace of 20 km per day keeping in view the requirement to achieve the quantum jump from the current pace of construction. At present works on over 10,500 km is in progress and to achieve the target of completing 20 km per day, works of about 20,000 km should be in progress at any point of time. As on 1/4/2011 works were in progress is about 15,600 km length under NHDP, Spl. Programme for development of roads in extremism affected areas and SARDP-NE including Arunachal Pradesh package. It is being targeted to award works in a total length of about 11,050 km and complete works in about 3,570 km under these programmes. With this, it is being targeted to have works in progress in about 23,079 km length as on 1/4/2012. Thus, it is being targeted to progressively build up the works in progress. (PIB Features)

*Inputs from the Ministry of Road Transport & Highways





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