Sharing the data, he said that there has been a steady increase in the construction of National Highways/Roads since 2013-14. 10,237 km of roads were constructed in 2019-20, while 13,327 km of roads were constructed in 2020-21, showing an increase of 30.2 per cent over the previous year. In the current financial year till September last year, 3,824 km of road was constructed.
The survey states that road transport is one of the most economical and convenient modes of transport in India for both freight and passengers. The per day road construction limit increased from 28 km per day in 2019-2020 to 36.5 km per day in 2020-21, an increase of 30.4 per cent over the previous year.
The country has a road network of 63.71 lakh km as on March 31, 2019, which includes National Highways, State Highways, District Roads, Rural Roads and Urban Roads. It is the second largest road network in the world after America’s 66.45 lakh km of roads.
Citing the reason for the significant increase in road construction, Finance Minister Sitharaman said that in 2020-21, the government has increased public expenditure by 29.5 percent, due to which the pace of completion of road projects has increased along with expansion. The minister said in the statement that this not only gave a boost to road construction, but also created employment in the difficult times of Corona epidemic.
The total length of national highways in the country will be 2 lakh km by 2025. India already has a national highway network of more than 1.40 lakh km. The central government is aiming to build 2 lakh km of national highways by 2025.
National highways and expressways, apart from cutting down on travel time and fuel costs, also help in economic development. According to the information, the priority of the government is to reduce the cost of logistics to 10 percent from the current 14-16 percent of GDP. It is 8-10 per cent in China and 12 per cent in European countries. If it is brought down to 10-12 per cent, then India can compete well in the international market.
The National Highways Authority of India (NHAI), the agency responsible for the construction and maintenance of national highways, continued the construction of highways even during the lockdown. Due to the lack of traffic due to the lockdown since March 2020, success was also achieved in increasing the speed of construction in many projects.
During this time the agency also made some record achievements in construction. Last year, NHAI created a world record by completing 25.54 km of single lane road development in just 18 hours. The road is located on NH-52 on a four-lane highway between Vijaypur and Solapur.
NHAI had set another world record in February last year for the highest volume of concrete pouring on a four-lane highway in a single day. This achievement was achieved by the contractor Patel Infrastructure and got its name in India Book of Records and Golden Book of World Records.