Home / Industry / Infrastructure /  Govt wants early oversight of highways

The ministry of road transport and highways proposes to include construction of flyovers and underpasses early on in the life of a highway project rather than tagging them on later, as it tries to make dangerous Indian roads safer.

It is also looking to make installation of CCTVs mandatory at the construction stage itself to monitor the progress of highway projects as per specifications and terms of agreement.

Government officials said a proposal to include construction of underpasses and flyovers at the at the DPR (detailed project report) stage was being considered for uninterrupted flow of both pedestrian and vehicular traffic for every village and town near a highway as well as at accident-prone junctions.

The parliamentary standing committee on transport, tourism and culture in its report submitted in Parliament during the monsoon session also stressed on the need to make Indian roads safer. The committee suggested the need to save lives of both pedestrians and vehicle users through improved road construction and planning. It also pointed to the need to monitor progress of work at highway construction using CCTVs.

“Doing so would permit round-the-clock ground-level monitoring of the progress being made in ongoing road projects and also inculcate fear amongst wrongdoers," the committee said in its report.

Officials said that though the plan was still under discussion, the CCTV project may be implemented with funds available under the Nirbhaya scheme for women’s safety.

“The CCTV cameras thus installed can be made a part of the fully constructed road once the road project gets completed and can be used to monitor traffic movements, accidents and thefts," said ministry officials.

Provision of additional features in a highway project may add to the total project cost that could mean longer period of tolling or bigger government compensation packages.

“It is with this thought the concession terms of highways are getting readjusted to ensure that we develop the best quality and safer road infrastructure," said the official quoted earlier.

While the government is pushing an ambitious upgrade of infrastructure of roads along with railways, ports and logistics, the quality of India’s road infrastructure still remains very poor.

The paradox of India’s road infrastructure is that while its cumulative road network is comparable to that of the US and China, countries which are several times the size of India, the quality of road infrastructure is poor.

Of India’s total road network, almost 40% is unpaved. National highways constitute less than 3% of the total road network and 40% of villages have no access to all-weather roads.

Unsurprisingly, India accounts for 11% of global deaths in road accidents while having only 1% of the world’s vehicles.

During 2020, there were 366,138 road accidents in India. Flawed road designing and engineering, weak enforcement of traffic laws, lack of allocations for maintenance and repair are all contributing factors.

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