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Disparity in road conditions

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Disparity in road conditions “India’s road infrastructure will match USA by 2024” This is the line frequently spoken by the Honourable Union minister for road transport and Highway “Shri Nitin Gadkari ji”. To achieve its target government has done quite good work. According to reports, the Highway network expanded by 10,457 km in the year 2021-22 with a rate of 28.64 km per day. Expressway (the highest quality roads in India) construction is also being done at a fast pace. 22 new expressways are under construction with a completion target of the year 2024.

While the pace of highway construction surely is impressive, little to no attention is being given to the district and rural level roads. “Potholes, congested, dangerous and ill-maintained” are the words that perfectly describe the condition of district and rural level roads in the majority of the country. Filled with potholes, these roads have turned into accident-prone zones.

The situation gets worst during the rainy season. Due to water-logging, one can not find a safe way to move ahead as large pits are waiting for their prey open-mouthed. According to the National Crime Records Bureau, about 5% of the deaths on road are due to potholes only. Neither the pedestrians are safe nor the chariots.

While traversing on an expressway one may get the feel of being in foreign but as soon as they get to district-level roads, they get the reality check. The reason behind this huge disparity in road quality is poor road construction, lack of timely repair and maintenance, and indifference on part of authorities. Inferior quality material is used by contractors to cut corners.

If the government truly wants India to match American road infrastructure then it must carry out proper maintenance of the district and rural roads. As former US president John F Kennedy once remarked “American roads are not good because America is rich, but America is rich because American roads are good” we have to take this quote to the ground level then only we can match the American infrastructure.

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