Nitin Gadkari, union minister of road transport and highways, shipping, water resources, river development and Ganga rejuvenation, said that, until three years ago, the country had 96,000km of national highways; this has now grown to nearly 1,70,000km, and will soon reach a length of 2,00,000km
Gadkari made these observations when addressing a session on ‘Opportunity in Infrastructure, Logistics Technology and Equipment’ in the World Food India 2017 conference in New Delhi recently.
From an estimated 91,287km in 2013-14, the national highway network grew to 97,991km in 2014-15, 1,01,010km in 2015-16 and 1,14,158km in 2016-17. Since then, until end-October, another 56,000-odd km have been added.
He also reiterated the government’s commitment for providing world-class transport and logistics infrastructure in the country within two years to support the growth of economic activity.
The minister added that 44 Economic Corridors and 24 Multi-Modal Logistics Parks have been planned under the government’s flagship programme Bharatmala. These are being planned on the hub-and-spoke model to facilitate efficient movement of freight along routes of economic importance.
The Multi Modal Logistics Parks are being planned as centres of freight aggregation with warehousing, cold storage and other such facilities. These parks will be built on national highways outside cities, so they will help reduce traffic congestion and also reduce pollution. Work has already begun for setting up logistics parks in Chennai, Bengaluru, Hyderabad, Vijaywada, Surat and Guwahati. The economic corridors and multi-modal logistics parks will facilitate faster movement of farm produce to food processing centres and to markets. This will raise the income of farmers, give a boost to the food processing industry and create a large number of jobs.
From the domestic automobile industry’s perspective, it will give a boost to the commercial vehicle industry which will help drive smooth and efficient transportation across the country.