India’s National Highway Network Witnesses 59% Growth in 9 Years, Says Nitin Gadkari
Nitin Gadkari, the Union Minister of Road Transport and Highways, revealed that India’s national highway length has expanded by approximately 59% in the past nine years. With this growth, India now possesses the world’s second-largest road network, trailing only the United States. Gadkari shared these updates during a press conference held in New Delhi.
Expanding National Highways
Gadkari announced that the total length of national highways increased from 91,287 km in 2013-14 to 145,240 km in 2022-23, reflecting a significant rise of over 59% during this period. He also highlighted the substantial growth of four-lane national highways, which nearly doubled over the past nine years, reaching 44,654 km from the initial length of 18,371 km in 2013-14.
Boost in Toll Collection
The introduction of FASTag, an electronic toll collection system, has resulted in a notable surge in toll collection revenues. Gadkari reported that toll revenues soared from ₹4,770 crore in 2013-14 to ₹41,342 crore in 2022-23. The government aims to further increase toll revenue to ₹1,30,000 crore by 2030.
Reduced Waiting Time at Toll Plazas
Gadkari emphasized the significant reduction in waiting time at toll plazas as a result of these developments. In 2014, the average waiting time at toll plazas was 734 seconds, which has now decreased to 47 seconds in 2023. The ministry aims to further minimize the waiting time to just 30 seconds, providing a smoother travel experience.
Transformative Impact of FASTag
The minister praised the revolutionary impact of FASTag on travel experiences in India. This electronic payment system has eliminated the need for cash transactions at toll plazas, resulting in savings of approximately ₹70,000 crores in fuel expenses caused by waiting time. Gadkari referred to research confirming these savings.
Focus on North East Region and Roadside Facilities
Special emphasis is being placed on expanding the road highway network in the North East region, with projects worth more than ₹2 lakh crore underway. Additionally, 670 roadside facilities are being developed to enhance the travel experience along national highways.
Achievements and Green Initiatives
Gadkari highlighted NHAI’s achievements, including launching an INVIT (Infrastructure Investment Trust) bond issue that received an overwhelming response. NHAI has also set several world records, showcasing its commitment to technological advancements. The ministry has undertaken various green initiatives such as tree transplantation, planting millions of trees, water rejuvenation efforts, and utilizing waste materials in road construction. The introduction of bamboo crash barriers promotes sustainability and employment opportunities.
Vision for Electric Vehicle Adoption
Gadkari unveiled a vision to increase Electric Vehicle adoption over the next five years, aligning with the government’s commitment to clean energy and reduced carbon emissions.