National Road Infra Conclave 2022: Today, the first edition of the National Road Infra Conclave (NRIC), organized by the FinancialExpress.com, discussed emerging opportunities and trends in the road infrastructure sector. Besides, it also analyzed the impact of government policies and initiatives while identifying the strategies for the faster execution of road projects. The Chief Guest for the event, Alka Upadhyaya, Chairperson, NHAI, said while National Highways and the State Highways contribute to only about 3% of the overall road network in the country, they cater to 80% of the national freight traffic. “So, we understand the importance of the National Road network for improving the economy in the country. She also mentioned the huge employment potential in road construction,” she said.
According to Upadhyaya, some of the initiatives taken by the NHAI have also contributed in a big way in terms of having a very high multiplier effect by the road sector in the country. “This is one sector where the multiplier effect is more than two times when we construct a road. Some of the works which were started in the decades of 2000 by the government at that point of time in terms of the Golden Quadrilateral, the north-south and the east-west corridors and laid the foundation for world-class infrastructure for the country and kind of brought a paradigm shift in all of us. And now through Bharatmala Pariyojna, the government is building a number of national highways, access-controlled expressways, freeways and greenfield expressways, which will change the basic canvas of road infrastructure in the country.”
“The Bharatmala Pariyojna which is India’s largest highway programme till date, is envisaged for the development of about 34,800 km at an estimated cost of Rs 5.35 lakh crores. The NHAI, at present, is looking at the development of 22 greenfield expressways and access controlled corridors and in Bharatmala Pariyojna, the authority hopes to tender out the works by the year 2023-24 so that the rest of the time can be used for completing the works taken up under Bharatmala-1 as the NHAI also has Bharatmala-2 coming up with due approval of the government,” she said.
So far, the NHAI has planned 22 greenfield corridors, which will have a lot of savings on CO2 emissions. These corridors are expected to save around Rs 10,000 crore in regard to fuel savings. In 2002, India took up 95 km long Mumbai-Pune expressway and till 2019, the government was able to take up only 1359 km road length under expressways. Now, under the Bharatmala Pariyojana, the NHAI has taken up Delhi-Mumbai Expressway with about 1400 km length. This was conceptualized, designed and started in 2019 and the authority is hopeful to complete the project by 2023. With this game-changer corridor, the travel between Delhi and Mumbai will be completed in 12-13 hours, Upadhyaya said.
Amit Kumar Ghosh, Additional Secretary, Ministry Of Roads Transport & Highway, while speaking on the initiatives taken by the government on reducing carbon footprint, said that more and more green materials are being used for construction. He also said that the government is strongly promoting the use of soil stabilization agents. The ministry is also encouraging the adoption of more sustainable fuels. The government is also shifting toward stricter pollution norms as well as promotion of electric vehicles, he said.