National Highways To Be Pothole-Free By December-End: MoRTH Sets Target With Performance-Based Maintenance Contracts


The Union Road Transport and Highways Ministry has set a target to make all national highways (NH) pothole-free by the end of December this year.

In order to do this, the entire 1.46 lakh km of NH network will be covered under some or the other perpetual maintenance contract and officials concerned will be held responsible for any failure to ensure pothole free highways.

Addressing a presser, Union Minister Nitin Gadkari said the plan, which is being rolled out, will deal with the issue of rains causing damage to highways and creating potholes. Young engineers will also be roped in to meet the target, he added.

The Minister said that the government received complaints about drainage issues along the NHs and a policy will be framed to address this.

“We will involve engineering students in this who can help detect potholes, lack of maintenance and defects in the drainage system. They will also get some kind of employment,” he added.

Union Road Transport secretary Anurag Jain explained that currently out of the total NH length, little over 1 lakh km is covered under some contracts and that these are maintained. He added that in the remaining 40,000 km there are no such maintenance contracts.

The Ministry has completed the mapping of the entire NH network and there will be performance-based maintenance and short-term maintenance contracts to make NHs pothole free.

Jain said that all the field officers have been directed to take rounds of each stretch, under their jurisdiction, in 15 days and take corrective action. “We are making them accountable. If they fail to do so, they will be responsible for this,” he said.

Speaking to reporters, Gadkari also said that the Ministry is making a new policy on the use of municipal waste in embankment construction in highway projects, which are around the urban areas.

“We have used the segregated waste in NH projects and more of this can be used to get our urban areas rid of piles of legacy waste and nearly 10,000 hectares of precious land parcels are freed for their better use,” he said.

Gadkari added that steps are being taken to remove accumulated municipal waste across the country including Delhi. The plastic retrieved from the waste would be used to extract crude oil. A policy would soon be framed to tackle municipal waste.

“Management of solid waste and liquid waste play a crucial role in cleanliness drive. There is a plan for using treated waste water in road construction,” he said.

According to the Ministry, a draft for a policy to incentivise construction machinery using alternative fuel has been prepared and it will be soon shared with the Finance Ministry for approval.

Gadkari also highlighted that the construction equipment in highway projects use nearly 400 crore litre of diesel every year.