The Centre has planned to expand aroud 60,000 km of National Highways (NHs) in the next five years. Minister of Road Transport and Highways Nitin Gadkari told the Parliament on Monday. In a written reply in the Rajya Sabha, the Minister also said that the development of national highways is a continuous process as per the requirement of connectivity, inter se priority, traffic density, and available resources. Replying to a query of Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) MP Sushil Kumar Gupta, the Minister said, “It has been targeting to develop about 60,000 km length of National Highways in five years.” The MP had sought the Transport Ministry’s next five-year road-building plan.
As per the Transport Ministry’s latest data available on its site, a total of 1,32,500 km of national highways were constructed till March 31, 2019.
Transport Ministry is primarily responsible for the development and maintenance of national highways. It keeps on receiving proposals from various state governments and Union Territories (UTs) for the declaration of state roads as new national highways.
The Ministry considers the declaration of some state roads as new national highways from time to time based on the requirement of connectivity, inter se priority, and availability of funds.
The declaration of state roads as new national highways is considered based on well-established principles. The criteria for state roads for declaration as new national highways include roads running through length or breadth of the country, connecting adjacent countries, national capitals with state capitals or mutually the state capitals, major ports, non-major ports, large industrial centers or tourist centers, roads meeting the very important strategic requirement in a hilly and isolated area.
Besides, the arterial roads which enable a sizeable reduction in travel distance and achieve substantial economic growth thereby are also on the list along with roads which help opening up large tracts of the backward area and hilly regions (other than strategically important ones), achieving a national highways grid of 100 km.