India will have highways free of potholes by end of this year: Nitin Gadkari

All national highways in India will soon be free of potholes. Union Minister Nitin Gadkari has assured that his Road Transport and Highways Ministry is taking steps to remove all potholes from India's 1.46 lakh km highway network by the end of this year. Potholes are causes behind several accidents in India every year. The ministry has now taken the initiative to offer short-term contracts to rectify these highways which often develop potholes due to lack of maintenance.

Highway potholes
Union Minister Nitin Gadkari has assured that all national highways in India will be free from potholes before the year ends. (HT PHOTO)
Highway potholes
Union Minister Nitin Gadkari has assured that all national highways in India will be free from potholes before the year ends.

According to Gadkari, the Centre is working to formulate a policy that will ensure there are no potholes on any national highway across the country. India currently has one of the largest highway network in the world spanning more than 1.46 lakh kms. The National Highways Authority of India (NHAI) constructs these highways with help of contractors as well as maintain them in future.

The reason behind some of the highways developing potholes lies in the way they are constructed. Highway construction in India is done in three basic modes. These include Built-Operate-Transfer (BOT), Procurement and Construction (EPC), and Hybrid Annuity Model (HAM). For highways constructed through EPC mode, developed gets paid by the government to build highways and the government keeps the toll collection. Gadkari said, “The roads which are constructed under the EPC mode require maintenance quite early whereas under the BOT mode, roads are better constructed as the contractor knows that he will have to bear the cost of maintenance for the next 15-20 years."

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To ensure highways constructed through EPC mode receive timely maintenance, Gadkari's ministry is offering performance-based maintenance and short-term maintenance contracts. The union minister said that rains are mostly the reason why highways have potholes. Assuring that his ministry is doing a safety audit of national highways, Gadkari said, “That is why we have decided for construction of roads under the BOT mode in a big way."

According to the Road Transport and Highways Ministry, mapping of India's national highway network has already been done and young engineers are being roped in to maintain them.

First Published Date: 29 Sep 2023, 10:22 AM IST
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