Govt working to expand NH’s network to 2 lakh kms by 2025

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NITIN GADKARI

The government is “dedicatedly working” towards expanding the length of the National Highways network in the country to 2 lakh kilometres by 2025 from the current around 1.47 lakh kms, Union Minister for Road Transport and Highways Nitin Gadkari has said.

Addressing the 222nd mid-term council meeting of the Indian Roads Congress (IRC), Gadkari said in the last 8 years the length of National Highways in the country has gone up by more than 50 per cent from 91,000 km in 2014 to about 1.47 lakh kms now.Gadkari said infrastructure development has an important role in fulfilling the vision of Prime Minister Narendra Modi to make India a 5 trillion-dollar economy.

Addressing the Indian Roads Congress meeting virtually, the minister proposed setting up of ‘Innovation Bank’ for new ideas, research findings, and technologies to focus on quality in infrastructure development, according to an official statement released by the Ministry of Road Transport & Highways.He said new initiatives are expected from IRC and innovation should be the focus area for all engineers.

Gadkari said the Indian Roads Congress should develop a World-class state-of-art laboratory with the help of the Indian Institute of Technology (IITs) and other global institutions.”We are ready to adopt World’s best and most successful technology and new materials for construction,” Gadkari said. He said the use of proven technology and reduction in construction costs are the two most important driving forces for road construction in the country.

“We need to reduce the cost of construction while maintaining quality,” he added.Gadkari said there should be minimum carbon footprints and exploitation of limited natural resources during the construction and operation phase. He said development at the cost of degradation of ecology and environment is not acceptable to the government.

The minister highlighted the need for the development of sustainable alternatives for steel and cement.
He said road safety is a high-priority area for the government. “We need to incorporate effective global practices and guidelines related to road engineering into the specification,” he added.