Percentage of roads as state highways in Gujarat more when compared to other states
A pionner in innovation, Gujarat government launched number of schemes to improve infrastrcture in the state highways
Gujarat a leader when it comes to adding big roads, it stands out in the percentage share of Surfaced to total roads in India
World Bank has noted success of Gujarat’s roads, said they score above the international desirable levelGood infrastructure is the key to ensuring development. It was Abraham Lincoln who said that “Give me six hours to chop down a tree and I will spend the first four sharpening the axe” highlighting the importance of good tools. For Gujarat, the leading industrialized state in the country, roads and highways act as instruments of development. Putting together world-class roads and highways has ensured the rapid development of the state.
The total length of roads in Gujarat stands at 104564 km with state highways accounting for 18447 km. The percentage of roads as State Highways in Gujarat (26) is substantially higher than Maharashtra (18), Andhra Pradesh (13) and Karnataka (8). The road density in the state stands at 146 km per lakh of population higher than the all India average of 126 km per lakh of population.
Gujarat has always been the pioneer in innovation in governance. The government of Gujarat to launched a number of schemes improve the infrastructure in the state. With the overall development of the state in mind, the Government of Gujarat launched Pragatipath Yojana. The goal of the Pragatipath Yojana, launched in 2005, was to ‘connect tribal belts, coastal, industrial and rural areas with mainstream areas and the extremities of the state.’ The Pragatipath Yojana entailed widening and Strengthening of 9 High Speed Corridors connecting ends of the state. Total length of the project was 3710km at a total cost of 2488 crores.
In an agrarian country like India, livelihood of the farmers depends on getting their produce to the markets in time. Keeping this in mind, Kisan Path Yojana was launched by the Government of Gujarat. Under this scheme, 7830km of roads have been taken up for improvement and 3364 villages have benefitted.
Additionally, schemes like Pravasipath, to ensure better connectivity to tourist places, and Vikas Path, ‘to modernize state roads passing through municipalities, urban areas, cities and mega cities’ were launched by the Government of Gujarat. Under Pravasipath, 1100km of roads covering 76 tourist places were upgraded. Under the Vikas Path scheme, 551 km of roads covering 131 municipalities and 4 municipal corporations were identified to be upgraded.
Because of these initiatives, Gujarat is the leader when it comes to adding Urban Roads, according to data from the Ministry of Statistics, Government of India. Between 2003 and 2008, the length of Urban Roads in the state increased from 15645 to 19306. This increase of 3661 km is even more impressive when compared to Maharashtra (450Km), Andhra Pradesh (278 km) and Punjab (where length of Urban Roads was reduced by 68 km).
Gujarat also stands out in the percentage share of Surfaced to total roads in India, indicating that the government focuses on adding good quality roads. Its share of surfaced roads, (90.24) is much higher than Maharashtra (79.73), Punjab (82.98), Andhra Pradesh (54.87), Rajasthan (72.08) and the second highest in India.
The success of Gujarat’s roads has been noticed internationally. A recent report by the World Bank has written abut the excellent road infrastructure in Gujarat. According to the findings of the Independent Evaluation Group of the World Bank, the IRI, International Roughness Index, for Gujarat is less than 4 meters/km. This index ranged between 6 meters/km – 20 meters/km before 2000. The study says, "The administrative cost in the capital maintenance and maintenance budget was reduced by almost half from 30 per cent at project approval to 15.7 per cent on project completion, the figure for 2011 shows a further decrease to 11.5 per cent, indicating an impressive and continued improvement beyond the project." The "maintenance backlog" in these years went down from 10,000 km when the project began to 1,290 km in 2011.
It may be pointed out that IEG Report has placed the state highways of Gujarat as better than the international desireable level! It lauded the role played by the state roads and building department and said that it undewent the project in an extremely professional manner. It concluded that Gujarat scores above other states in “implementation completion and results”. This success would never have been possible without the far sighted leadership of Shri Narendra Modi, who placeed great emphasis on highways in the deveopment journey of Gujarat.
This is not the first time that the state of Gujarat has received high praise from the World Bank, the Gujarat State Highway Project – 1 (GHSP-1), which was jointly funded by the World Bank and the Asian Development Bank, covering a total length of 1840km, was rated highly satisfactory by both ICR and the Independent Evaluation Group. A letter from the World Bank, dated 25th November 2009, stated that ‘the Governance frame work and institutional arrangement in the Gujarat Road Sector were found exemplary.’ Another report in August 2010, Good Governance in Highway Sector: Learning from Gujarat", said, “The exemplary reforms in Gujarat's roads sector should be replicated by other states.”
Gujarat – Beyond the Obvious’ by Ernst and Young