National Highways: India

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Length of National Highways and total road length; Graphic courtesy: The Times of India, March 2, 2016
Number of registered vehicles, 1990-91--2012-13; Graphic courtesy: The Times of India, March 2, 2016
Highways performance: total construction and total award, year-wise; 2008-2015; Graphic courtesy: The Times of India
Construction and award of highway projects: 2008-16;Graphic courtesy: The Times of India Jan 10 2016


Part I: The ministry's overview

This article has been sourced from an authoritative, official
publication. Therefore, it has been ‘locked’ and will never be
thrown open to readers to edit or comment on.

After the formal launch of their online archival encyclopædia,
readers who wish to add further details can do so on a ‘Part II’
of this article.

The source of this section

INDIA 2012


Compiled by






Sl. Name of State National Highway No. Total Length

No. (in km)

1 Andhra Pradesh 4, 5, 7, 9, 16, 18, 43, 63, 202, 205, 214, 214A, 219, 221 & 222 4472

2 Arunachal Pradesh 52, 52A & 153 392

3 Assam 31, 31B, 31C, 36, 37, 37A, 38, 39, 44, 51, 52, 52A, 2836 52B, 53, 54, 61, 62,151,152,153 &154

4 Bihar 2, 2C, 19, 28, 28A, 28B, 30, 30A, 31, 57, 57A, 77, 80, 81, 82, 3642 83, 84, 85, 98, 99, 101, 102, 103, 104, 105, 106, 107 & 110

5 Chandigarh 21 24

6 Chhattisgarh 6, 12A, 16, 43, 78, 111, 200,202, 211, 216 and 217 2184

7 Delhi 1, 2, 8, 10 & 24 72

8 Goa 4A, 17, 17A & 17B 269

9 Gujarat NE-I, 6, 8, 8A, 8B, 8C, 8D, 8E, 14, 15, 59, 113 & 228 3245

10 Haryana 1, 2, 8, 10, 21A, 22, 64, 65, 71, 71A, 71B, 72, 73, 73A , 1512 & NE-II

11 Himachal Pradesh 1A, 20, 21, 21A, 22, 70, 72, 73A & 88 1208

12 Jammu & Kashmir 1A, 1B, 1C &1D 1245

13 Jharkhand 2, 6, 23, 31, 32, 33, 75, 78, 80, 98, 99 & 100 1805

14 Karnataka 4, 4A, 7, 9, 13, 17, 48, 63, 67, 206, 207,209, 212 & 218 3843

15 Kerala 17, 47, 47A, 47C, 49, 208, 212, 213, & 220 1457

16 Madhya Pradesh 3, 7, 12, 12A, 25, 26, 26A, 27, 59, 59A, 69, 75, 76, 78, 86 & 92 4670

17 Maharashtra 3, 4, 4B, 4C, 6, 7, 8, 9, 13, 16, 17, 50, 69, 204, 211 & 222 4176

18 Manipur 39, 53, 150 & 155 959

19 Meghalaya 40, 44, 51 & 62 810

20 Mizoram 44A, 54, 54A, 54B, 150 & 154 927

21 Nagaland 36, 39, 61, 150 & 155 494

22 Orissa 5, 5A, 6, 23, 42, 43, 60, 75, 200, 201, 203, 203A, 215, 3704 217 & 224

23 Puducherry 45A & 66 53

24 Punjab 1, 1A, 10, 15, 20, 21, 22, 64, 70, 71, 72 & 95 1557

25 Rajasthan 3, 8, 11, 11A, 11B, 11C, 12, 14, 15, 65, 71B, 76, 79, 79A, 89, 5585 90, 112, 113, 114 & 116

26 Sikkim 31A 62

27 Tamilnadu 4, 5, 7, 7A, 45, 45A, 45B, 45C, 46, 47, 47B, 49, 66, 67, 4462 68, 205, 207, 208, 209, 210, 219, 220, 226 & 227

28 Tripura 44 & 44A 400

29 Uttar Pradesh 2, 2A, 3, 7, 11, 12A, 19, 24, 24A, 24B, 25, 25A, 26, 27, 28, 28B, 5874 28C, 29, 56, 56A, 56B, 58, 72A, 73, 74, 75, 76, 86, 87, 91, 91A, 92, 93 ,96, 97 , 119 & NE-II

30 Uttarakhand 58, 72, 72A, 73, 74, 87, 94, 108, 109, 121, 123 & 125 1991

31 West Bengal 2, 2B, 6, 31, 31A, 31C, 31D, 32, 34, 35, 41, 55, 60, 60A, 2524 80, 81 &117

32 Andaman & 223 300 Nicobar

Total 66754

Source : Ministry of Road Transport and Highways Website http:/ statedetailsmain.asp

Part II: Updates from the media

Status in 2016: No. of lanes, road length

Growth of national highways, 1990-2015
Length of roads added between 2000 and 2015

Dipak Dash, 78% of national highways have only one or two lanes, Oct 17 2016 : The Times of India

40% Of Road In India Not Metalled: Data

In a stark indication of how far India has to go in developing its highway network, latest official statistics reveal that around 78% of national highways are either one or two-lane affairs. One third are less than two lanes, making the task of four-laning India's economic lifelines a challenging endeavour.

A report of the road trans port and highways ministry also shows that nearly 40%, including rural, intra-district and state highways, are not metalled -outlining the limitations in connectivity but al so offering hope that road development in remote areas can be a major employment generator for many years to come.

According to the report, just five states -Maharash tra, UP, Karnataka, West Bengal and Assam -account for 43% of the road network.The implications are obvious as fixing the imbalance can be key to literally speeding up India's economy through smoother freight movement.

Over 14 lakh km of road is yet to be surfaced, over 11.5 lakh km being rural and project roads. While rural roads include stretches owned by panchayats and zila parishads in addition to networks under Pradhan Mantri Gram Sadak Yojna, project roads cover stretches built by the forest, irrigation and electricity departments, among others. Road length in India incre ased from 33.73 lakh km in 2000-01to 54.72 lakh km in 2015 and rural roads account for the maximum share of 61% of the entire network. State and national highways, which carry over 60% traffic, have less than 5% share. These are even less than the country's total urban road network.

A comparative analysis of the report also shows that Assam has the maximum length of non-metalled or unsurfaced roads (nearly 2.67 lakh km) followed by 1.85 lakh km in West Bengal and Maharashtra. Interestingly , Delhi, which ranks fourth in the list of states with maximum urban roads, has nearly 8,700km of non-metalled stretches.

Road transport ministry officials said considering that road development works have a multiplier effect on the economy and job generation, highways minister Nitin Gadkari has given an in-principle approval to increase the length of national highways from 1.05 lakh km to 1.40 lakh km. In fact, the ministry has also revised the norm for qualifying highway stretches for their widening from two lanes to four lanes. Moreover, the ministry has set a target to wi den all national highways to at least two lanes.

“National highways mu st be of some standard so that people can find the difference the minute they take NHs.

Simple notification to declare state highways as NHs may have political significance, but the real task lies in expan ding and improving them,“ said S P Singh of IFTRT, a Delhi-based thinktank on transport issues.

National Highways: Some comparisons

The Times of India,

Dec 20 2014

Comparisons: National Highways

There were 127 delayed national highway projects as per December, 2014. An analysis of the estimated project cost per kilometre and the rate of construction of these roads showed some interesting patterns. Bridges were understandably far more expensive to construct--the per km cost of construction of Chambal bridge on NH-76 was Rs 200.9cr, 84 times the cost of construction of the Rai Bareli-Allahabad section of NH-24B. They also had the slowest construction rate. The annual construction rate was 0.1 km for the Chambal bridge, far lower than the 123.8 km year rate at which sections of NH-69A and 26B were being constructed.

Fuel cess and NHAI’s share

The Times of India, Apr 18 2016

Centre cuts NHAI's share of fuel cess

Dipak Dash

National Highways Authority of India (NHAI) may now have to fend for itself. The road transport and highways ministry has told the authority that it will provide only Rs 2,000 crore as its share of fuel cess this year compared to last year's Rs 15,000 crore.

NHAI requires about Rs 65,000 to Rs 70,000 crore for the current financial year. Its sources of revenue are cess and toll charges, which put together will be around Rs 10,000 this year. It will now have to raise the remaining money from the market through tax free bonds.

While the ministry told NHAI that it needed more from the budgetary support (cess) to fund highway development projects which it implements through state PWDs and NHIDCL, the highway authority has protested saying this allocation was unsustainable.

NHAI's share from the fuel cess allocated to the ministry has been increasing since it was levied for the first time in 1999.During 2015-16, it was all time high at around Rs 15,000 crore from the total allocation of Rs 23,000 crore for the highway sector. In 2015-16, the total allocation of cess to the ministry has been increased to Rs 42,000 crore. The authority was expecting to get about Rs 25,000 crore from this fund.

Sources said the highway authority had raised Rs 23,000 crore as tax free bonds to meet expenses last year.

“We have been able to raise so much as our tax free bonds are rated as AAA. This rating is because of assured fund flow to NHAI in the form of fuel cess from government and the toll revenue that we receive. This year we may be able to raise the desi red amount, but what will happen next year or the year after that?“ asked an NHAI official.

In fact, while rating the NHAI bonds, rating agencies have always highlighted how fuel cess remains the major source of the authority's finances.

In a recent communication to the highways ministry, NHAI also referred to the B K Chaturvedi committee report of November 2009 which mentioned that finance ministry should issue a letter of comfort to NHAI assuring that the fuel cess for building highways by the agency would be continued till 2030-31 for sustainable financing. In fact, the highway ministry had given in-principle approval to NHAI for providing letter of comfort, confirming availability of cess at least till 2030-31.

The National Highways Authority of India needs more funds since it is involved in widening of highways to four and six lanes and needs to acquire land for such expansion.

On the other hand, projects implemented by the ministry don't require land acquisition as most of these are widened to two-and-a-half lanes.

Moreover, with private investment still coming less the sector, NHAI has to execute most of the projects will 100% government fund.

Cost of acquiring land

The Times of India, July 27, 2015

Cost of land acquired for highways, year-wise: 2011-15, 2015-16(estimated); Graphic courtesy: The Times of India, July 27, 2015

Land cost per km Rs 4.5cr, up from Rs 75 lakh in 2011-12

The land acquisition law enacted during UPA's tenure has pushed up the cost of buying land for highway projects almost six times over five years. In the financial year 2014-15, the National Highways Authority of India (NHAI) estimates the initial price per hectare at Rs 3 crore, compared to Rs 56 lakh in 2011-12. Compared to the average cost of Rs 1.35 crore a hectare during 2013-14, the acquisition value is estimated to be more than double this year. This has resulted in the overall cost of constructing a kilometre of a four-lane highway rising to almost Rs 16 crore, compared to Rs 11crore -12 crore a couple of years ago. A steep rise in the project cost has implications for the toll users pay.

The overall cost of building a kilometre of road includes construction expens es and the compensation paid during land acquisition. Sources said the expenditure towards land acquisition for building bypasses could be even higher -as much as Rs 10 crore-11 crore a hectare in certain parts of the country -as land around urban clusters is more valuable. Also, it bypasses need for more land compared to upgrading an existing two-lane stretch to four lanes. The higher cost of land has implications for the greenfield expressways planned around the country .

Land was around 10% of the cost for constructing a four-lane highway in 2011-12, compared to almost 45% now. For instance, to build a kilometer of a four-lane highway , around 1.5 hectare is needed, which would have cost around 75 lakh in 201112. Now, the acquisition cost has increased to around Rs 4.50 crore for a km, in addition to the construction cost. But officials concede that thanks to higher compensation, landowners are willing to offer land for acquisition, after provisions of the new land law became applicable for NH projects from January . But the ministry has sought relaxations under the current law arguing that acquisition for linear projects does not displace people in large numbers unlike projects for irrigation.

2015-16: expansion

The Times of India, Sep 12 2015

Growth of national highways in India, in kilometres, 1950-2013; Graphic courtesy: The Times of India, Sep 12 2015

Dipak Dash

National highways to grow by 50,000km in 6 mths

The road transport and highways ministry is supposed to add nearly 50,000 km of roads to the National Highways (NH) network in the country till March 2016. This addition within two years of the Narendra Modi government will be more than twice the length NDA-I had added in its six years and over three times of what UPA added in its 10-year rule.

Sources said Between June 2014 and August 2015, the new government has added about 7,000 km of roads to the NH length and at present it's little more than one lakh km. Road transport and highways minister Nitin Gadkari has announced to take it to 1.5 lakh km by this year end.

Between 1998 and 2004 when NDA was in power, about 23,814 km was added to the NH network and during the 10-year rule of the UPA government, a total of around 18,000 km were designated as NH.

On how the ministry is now going about including more stretches as NH, an official said, “While process of notification to include about 15,000 km under Bharat Mala and joining backward areas in the NH network is under way , we are carrying out feasibility study for large chunk of stretches that states have forwarded for upgrading them as NHs. This would be about 20,000 km.“

Sources said adding length is crucial to maintain the pace of award, which has been increased to about 30 km a day . Putting its focus to accelerate highway construction as growth multiplier, the Modi government plans to continue this high target of award of works for 3-4 years. “Moreover, ideally most of the major roads connecting districts, upcoming business hubs and even religious and tourist places should be connected with at least two-and-half lane roads,“ an official said.

However, there is also a flip side to it. Converting more stretches of state highways or major district roads to NHs will increase burden on the Central budget as states will stop spending on maintenance of these stretches as soon as the corridors are notified as NHs.Some of the officials said the situation won't get out of government control as most of the stretches being expanded now are on a model named “EPC contracts“. Under this, the contractor has to maintain the road for one year and is also responsible for any defect for four years.

2015-16: Record construction

The Times of India, Apr 11 2016

In 2015-16, record 6,029 km of highways constructed

Dipak Dash

The construction of highways touched an all-time high of 6,029 km during 2015-16.Prior to this, a maximum of 5,732 km of national highway was constructed during 2012-13.

Officials said while NHAI reported construction of nearly 2,000 km, the rest came from works done by the road transport ministry through its agencies including state public works departments, Border Roads Organisation and ministry's entity NHIDCL for undertaking works in hill states.

TOI on January 10 had first reported how the total construction was set to cross 6,000-km mark.

Though surpassing 2012-13 record by merely constructing one extra km per day may not be that big achievement, sources said the increased pace of construction will now continue for the next few years.

See also

Toll roads: India

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