Presence of quality infrastructure is vital for social, economic and industrial development of the country. The Transport infrastructure in Kerala largely consists of roads, railways, air and inland water. Roads occupy a prime position because even for using other modes of transport, roads are needed.
Major Activities of PWD (R&B) during 2012-13
Length of Roads Completed/ Constructed
• Resurfacing of State Highways
• Resurfacing of MDR
• Resurfacing of Rural Roads
• Resurfacing of BM & BC completed
• State Highways
• Major District Roads
• NABARD Assisted
• Anti-recession Stimulous Package
Transport infrastructure of the State consists of 2.43 lakh Km of road, 1148 Kms of Railways, 1687 Kms of Inland Waterways and 111 statute miles of Airways and 18 Ports.
The most important challenge in the road sector involves building all weather roads connecting each and every village. Even though Kerala is comparatively better placed than most other States, as regards road length, the condition of many of these roads is very poor. Therefore, the main emphasis under road development in Kerala has been on improvement and upgradation of existing roads rather than construction of new roads. The investment need in the road sector is of high magnitude that are beyond the resources available with the Government. Therefore, there is an imperative need to motivate private and other non-governmental agencies/corporate sectors to participate in road construction and upgradation of selected highways.
Major Recommendations of the Technical Committee on Road and Road Safety
• Technical Standards and Specifications – Use of rubberised bitumen and waste plastic in pavement laying will have advantages – technical and financial – and should unreservedly be encouraged.
• Formation of a Highway Department – Three independent wings in the proposed Highway Department, (1) for repairs and maintenance of the existing road network plus for minor capital works costing up to `5 crore. (2) exclusively for the National Highways and (3) for all development works more than `5 crore.
• Work Culture – A technical department like Roads & Bridges should not have a huge strength of non-technical staff. There is need for down-sizing the non technical strength and increasing the proportion of Engineering staff.
• Resource Crunch – With a view to upgrade the road infrastructure, it is necessary to set a target of `2000 crore for capital works and `1000 crore for road repairs and maintenance every year for the next five years. Hence a progressive and workable model concession agreement should be created to suit the state.
• Highway Development Fund – To meet the expenditure on road development and to reduce dependence on borrowings, a non lapsable and non fungible ‘Highway Development fund’ is essential. The State Government has recently taken a decision to levy 5% cess on the Diesel and Petrol sold in the State to fund transportation projects. Through this cess, the State can mop up `1000 crore per annum. 50% of this levy should go to the Highway Development Fund and the remaining 50% for Urban Transport Projects.
• Road Safety – For the Transport Commissioner to be effective as Road Safety Commissioner the Government should ensure that a very competent and dynamic police officer with impeccable integrity and track record is selected to the post and allowed to remain in the post at least for a period of 5 years.
Source: Economic Review 2013
For more information: spb.kerala.gov.in