Union Road Transport and Highways Minister Nitin Gadkari stated that the total length of the National Highways (NH) in the country increased by about 59 per cent in the last nine years.
As a result of this expansion, India now has the second largest road network, after the United States.
“Total length of National Highways was 91,287 km in 2013-14, which increased to 1,45,240 km in 2022-23, which is a rise of more than 59 per cent during this period,” Union Road Transport and Highways Minister Nitin Gadkari said while showcasing nine years of achievement of his Ministry.
He also said that, in the last nine years, the increase in four-lane NH rose about two times. In 2013-14, the length of four-lane NH was 18,371 km which has increased to 44,654 km in the last nine years.
Gadkari said that with the introduction of FASTag, there is significant jump in the toll collection. The Minister further informed that the revenues from tolls rose to Rs 41,342 crore in 2022-23 from Rs 4,770 crore in 2013-14.
The Government aims to increase the toll revenue to Rs 1,30,000 crore by 2030, Gadkari added.
Gadkari explained how the waiting time at toll plazas has also reduced as a result of this. “In 2014, the waiting time at the toll plazas was 734 seconds, whereas in the 2023 this has reduced to 47 seconds. We are hopeful that we will bring it down to 30 seconds soon,” he said.
The Minister spoke about transformative impact of FASTag on travel experiences in India, saying it has revolutionised the concept of toll payments, eliminating the need for cash transactions.
This breakthrough has saved approximately Rs 70,000 crore in wasted fuel expenses caused by waiting at the toll plazas, according to a research.
The Minister further said that special emphasis was being laid on the expansion of road highway network in the Northeast region, adding that projects worth more than Rs 2 lakh crore are being carried out in the region. He also said 670 road side facilities are being developed with a view to provide a pleasant experience along the NHs.
The Minister said under the NHAI’s INVIT (Infrastructure Investment Trust) model, a bond issue was launched and has garnered tremendous response.
Within the first day of its availability on the Mumbai Stock Exchange, the bond witnessed seven times oversubscription. Gadkari urged investors to consider investing in NHAI INVIT, which offers an attractive interest rate of 8.05 per cent, surpassing traditional bank rates.
Additionally, he said that the NHAI achieved seven world records, showcasing their commitment to technological advancements and their ambition to position India as the second-largest road network in the world, after the USA.
On the issue of green initiatives, Gadkari said NHAI transplanted more than 68,000 trees, while it planted 3.86 crore trees during in the last nine years. Talking about water rejuvenation initiatives, he added that the NHAI has developed more than 1,500 Amrit Sarovars along the National Highways across the country.
The Minister pointed out that the Ministry has utilised 30 lakh tons of garbage in road construction for the Delhi Ring Road project, demonstrating a proactive approach towards waste management and sustainable infrastructure development.
Furthermore, he highlighted the introduction of bamboo crash barriers, which provide enhanced strength and durability while generating employment opportunities and promoting environmental sustainability.
In line with the Government’s commitment to a sustainable future, Gadkari unveiled a vision for increased electric vehicle adoption over the next five years, promoting clean energy and reducing carbon emissions.