Transportation and communication facilities provided by the government are critical for a flourishing trade industry in any country. The Ministry of Road Transport and Highways of the Union is in charge of regulatory oversight of the country’s national highways, and it aims to manage and develop India’s national highways because they are the major mode of transportation in the country. India is highly connected because of the highway facility provided and maintained by the government.
The term ‘national highway’ is frequently used in several nations, including India, to describe vital roadways controlled and maintained by the government or any relevant government authority. In contrast with municipal or regional roads, these highways often have stricter standards for planning, construction, and maintenance.
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National Highway Authority India
National Highways Authority of India (NHAI) is a government-run organisation that manages and expands the nation’s highway system. The organisation was founded in 1988 with the NHAI Act, 1988, which is why it is a statutory body. The headquarters of NHAI is in New Delhi.
The NHAI has the power of establishing and maintaining the highways, and this process involves building new roadways and enlarging existing roads to provide dependable and secure transportation.
As per Section 3 of the Act, NHAI is a body corporate with permanent succession and a single seal. NHAI has a total of 13 members: a chairman, six part-time members, and six full-time members.
As per Section 16, several authority functions are defined under the Act.
History of the Act
Before NHAI was founded, various state and government entities were in charge of developing and maintaining highways. This strategy was decentralised, which resulted in organisational problems, delays in project completion, and uneven norms throughout several locations.
The National Highways Act was first passed in 1956. However, the Parliament of India enacted another Act in1988, which paved the way for the core of the Indian road system. The National Highways Development Project (NHDP) was started for transportation between India’s four largest cities.
An updated identification methodology based on the roads’ geographic location was introduced in 2010 by the Ministry of Road Transport and Highways. This method was chosen so that the development of new roadways would be similar.
This Act of 1988 established a National Highway Development Authority for maintenance, control, and resolving issues related to it or incidental to it. The Act was enacted on 16th December 1988 and enforced on 15th June 1989 by the official gazette.
The NHAI Act was enacted in 1988 to structure the NHAI on 15th June, 1988. The demand for an independent organisation focused on the construction, upkeep, and administration of India’s system of national highways led to the establishment of the NHAI.
Projects of NHAI
NHAI constructs the national highways of India. Along with other smaller initiatives for construction, maintenance, and management, the NHAI controls the National Highways Construction Plan.
The project was intended to develop roads and facilitate traffic movement. The initiative was launched in 1998 under the direction of the then Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee. The NHDP has made a substantial contribution to developing India’s road network, promoting economic expansion, and boosting accessibility throughout the nation. NHDP has considerably reduced travel time, enhanced road safety, and promoted regional growth. NHDP is going to start in seven phases.
1. The NHDP aims to improve, repair, and enlarge India’s main national highways.
2. NHDP involved widening current national highways to four lanes and a few significant national highways in India to six lanes.
3. NHDP also aims to create expressways, ring roads, bypasses, service lanes, in subsequent phases, which can be seen as being developed by the NHAI.
4. NHDP includes connectivity of ports and establishing superior connectivity with the Golden Quadrilateral and between North South–East West Corridor.
5. Through public-private partnerships (PPPs), the NHDP promotes private sector involvement in the construction and upkeep of National Highways and enables effective project management and the use of assets and expertise from the private sector.
Bharatmala project of national highways was launched in 2015, enhancing connectivity and developing infrastructure. By clearing areas of congestion with the development of raised corridors, bypasses, ring roads, lane enlargement, and logistical centres at predetermined locations, the Bharatmala project aims to increase the value of the National Corridor, involving the Golden Quadrilateral as well as North, South, East-West corridor. The objective of the project can be summarised as follows:
1. Connect 550 districts in India.
2. Facilitate business with Myanmar, Bangladesh, Bhutan, and Nepal. The development strategy calls for building border highways along international boundaries as well as connecting with roads internationally.
3. Enhance the effectiveness of cross-country transportation of both persons and products.
4. Create prospects for direct and indirect employment in the development and transportation sector.
Projects and Phases of the Bharatmala Project
1. Development of economic corridors to boost industrial activities and development.
2. The project calls for building and enhancing the roads in India’s border and coastal areas to increase trade and tourism while enhancing accessibility in key areas.
3. The primary goal is to construct better highways to obtain a high-speed route. These motorways are designed to speed up traffic between major cities and offer continuous connection.
4. Create particular corridors to increase their functionality, such as building grade separators, flyovers, and bypasses.
5. By creating feeder routes, the initiative seeks to provide connectivity to the major National Highways network in rural and distant locations.
National Highways make international and national trade convenient, and the road network makes other necessary services possible. Additional funds should be granted by the government to ensure efficient traffic operation because India’s traffic management remains a concern. With the establishment of the NHAI, a national organisation was established to coordinate the development, execution, and oversight of highway projects.
The NHAI has been tasked with developing a highway system connecting various regions of India. India’s road system has undergone tremendous change thanks to NHAI. The system is currently working on various initiatives to upgrade, expand, and modernise the National Highway System.
FAQs on NHAI
Is NHAI is a government or private agency?
NHAI is a Government agency and a Statutory body and functions as a government-controlled organisation to enhance road connectivity and construct better highways throughout India.
Which is the longest highway in India?
NH44 highway is the longest highway connecting North Srinagar and South Kanyakumari.
What is FASTag?
A rechargeable tag called a FASTag is utilised at toll booths to facilitate the instantaneous deduction of toll money and to let people proceed without waiting in line or any form of physical money exchange.
What is a National Highway?
A system of main roads is known as national highways. They are to link various towns and states together. NHAI is responsible for managing these roadways. The Ministry of Road Transport and Highways owns and manages these highways.