Connecting the country: Road Infrastructure- Make in India: Mahindra RoadMaster G90
The one thing that connects any country in physical terms is roads. Especially in a country like India with huge population and vast area, road infrastructure assumes very much importance. Typically, the Indian road network which is globally the 2nd largest spanning 5.5 million kilometres (kms), comprising of national highways, expressways, state highways, major district roads, other district roads and village roads bear more than 60 per cent of total goods traffic and 90 per cent passenger traffic in the country. This road network plays a crucial role in providing employment, better access to services, ease of transportation and freedom of movement to people, alleviating poverty and giving an overall boost to the economy of the country. However, the primary role that the roads play is connecting the country.
Knowing that roads play a pivotal role in connecting the country, Indian road infrastructure has seen consistent improvement in the last few years. This is because the Indian government is increasingly focussing on building quality roads and highways across the country. The year 2015-2016 saw more than 6,061 kms of highway construction. In the year 2016-2017, 8,231 kms of national highways were constructed. Further, the construction of highways reached 9,829 kms during financial year 2017-2018 and they were constructed at an average of 26.93 kms per day. On the other hand, total length of rural roads constructed under Pradhan Mantri Gram Sadak Yojana (PMGSY) was 47,447 kms in the financial year 2017-18. As for the Budget 2018-2019, then this also spelt optimism for the roads and highways sector with huge investment being planned.
Here is the list of major road infrastructure development initiatives planned by the government for connecting the country well...
1. Highway development projects:
• The seven-phased National Highway Development Project is implemented by the National Highways Authority of India (NHAI) with a total estimated expenditure of USD 92 billion.
• For the year 2018-19, the construction target of NHAI projects has been revised from 5058 km to 6000 km.
• A total of 200,000 km national highways are expected to be completed by 2022.
• The government is aiming to construct Golden Quadrilateral connecting four major metropolitan cities viz. Delhi-Mumbai- Chennai-Kolkata.
• There are plans to connect major ports of the country to national highways.
• Four and six-laning of existing national highways is being planned.
• The biggest ever Highway Development Plan to construct 83,677 kms of roads by 2022 was approved in 2017. It included the Bharatmala Pariyojana for providing connectivity to interior and backward areas and borders of the country and includes development of highways running through economic corridors, border and coastal areas and expressways. Bharatmala is expected to grant India 50 national corridors as opposed to the six right now. Further, the project would be connecting 550 districts in the country through the national highway linkages against the existing number of 300.
2. Road developing projects in challenging terrains:
Given the fact that roads in the hilly areas are strategically significant due to their proximity with international borders and defence establishments, Ministry of Road Transport and Highways (MORTH) has been keenly taking up the road development projects in such areas. Further, the government is looking to improve road connectivity to coastal/border areas, backward areas, religious places, tourist places and construction/rehabilitation/widening of major bridges among others.
3. Special road development projects for the North-East:
Prioritising the task of improving road infrastructure in the North-East, government is planning to upgrade 10,141 kms of roads in the region through three-phased Special Accelerated Road Development Programme for North-East which aims to improve road connectivity in all district headquarters in the North-Eastern region. Phase A of the project includes upgradation of 4,099 kms of road by March 2021. In Phase B, 3,723 kms of road stretch has been approved. The third phase is the Arunachal Pradesh Package of Roads and Highways under which construction of 2319 kms road has been approved. Further, the government is also implementing another project which connects Kolkata and Sittwe Port in Myanmar.
4. Road development projects in remote areas in Central/Eastern India:
The government has planned development of 5,477 kms of national highways and state roads in 34 remote districts in states of Andhra Pradesh, Bihar, Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Odisha and Uttar Pradesh.
5. Rural road Development projects: Realising the fact that rural roads can promote access to economic and social services, generate increased agricultural incomes and productive employment opportunities and reduce poverty in the country, PMGSY was launched by the government in the year 2000. The main aim of the program is to provide connectivity to unconnected 65000 habitations through construction of all-weather roads. Earlier this year, government preponed the first phase of PMGSY from 2022 to 2019.
Impact of the various road development projects on road construction equipment segment
Given the priority of the government towards development of an excellent road infrastructure for the nation, it is believed that the road construction equipment sector has a very bright future ahead. In the road construction equipment sector too, it is the motor graders segment which is expected to see a huge boom because they are highly versatile equipment and can be used to perform various jobs on a road construction site. However, at present there are not many indigenous motor graders available in the country that are best suited for the Indian needs. In fact, most motor graders found in the market are manufactured by international companies and they are large and very expensive and this puts a restriction on their usage. Here comes into the picture the indigenous motor grader manufacturer— Mahindra Construction Equipment’s (MCE) offering RoadMaster G90 which is best suited for Indian roads including small and medium roads, state highways and national highway expansion projects.
The Mahindra RoadMaster G90 is an ideal grading machine for spreading, grading of earthwork in different types of roadwork across the nation, in addition to being used for railway and ground levelling operations across sectors. It is designed to provide an optimal output at affordable cost with its simple yet rugged design. Overall, the RoadMaster G90 can be best summed up as made in India for the Indian roads. It can play a pivotal role in construction of roads which connect each and every part of the country.