India wants roads. And he wants them at record speed. On the verge of unseating China as the most populous territory on the planet – if it hasn’t already – and with its government managing forecasts of 6.5% GDP growth despite the harsh winds blowing through the global economy, the Asian country is reinforcing its infrastructure map. Nothing surprising in a nation that is already fishing in the waters of technological multinationals that are looking for new production poles beyond China. What is shocking is the pace with which this road network is expanding, from which the Government itself is already praising.
His last great achievement: 100 kilometers of roads in 100 hours.
One kilometer of road every hour. It is shocking, but that is the surprising balance that the Indian Executive boasts on one of its northern highways, the one that links Aligarh and Ghaziabad, two towns located in the state of Uttar Pradesh. A few days ago the Minister of Road Transport, Nitin Gadkari, boasted of the installation of bituminous concrete in 100 kilometers of road. So far nothing surprising. The striking thing, which leads Gadkari to talk about “a remarkable feat” What “makes history” is how long it has taken: 100 hours.
“An Unprecedented Time”. This is how the minister celebrates it, who does not spare praise when highlighting the merits of the project, its authors and the very usefulness of the road. “The Ghaziabad-Aligarh section of NH-34, spanning 118 kilometers, plays a crucial role as a transport link between the densely populated regions of Ghaziabad and Aligarh,” emphasizes. The road also connects industrial and agricultural areas and educational centers, which leads the leader to underline his drive for development.
Another of the messages that Gadkari emphasizes is that the project incorporates Cold Central Plant Recycling technology, which allows it to “significantly reduce” fuel consumption and polluting emissions.
Is it an isolated case? No. The truth is that it is not the first time that Gadkari has shown his chest at the speed at which work is done on the roads of India. In fact, the country boasts of both its infrastructure and the pace at which it is advancing. In 2021, the minister highlighted that three world records had been achieved in March.
“We entered the Guinness World Record by building a 2.5 km four-lane concrete road in 24 hours. We have also built a 25 km one-lane asphalt road between Solapur and Bijapur in 24 hours,” the minister celebrated. Shortly before, in February 2021, the firm Patel Intrastructure Limited had claimed another construction milestone, that of the largest amount of concrete deployed on a four-lane highway in a period of just 24 hours.
Many kilometers, very fast. The list does not stop there. A year ago, the National Highway Authority (NHAI) was puffing up what it considered a new world record: it had taken less than five days to successfully complete the construction of 75 kilometers of concrete highway, a section of NH 53 that was stretches between Amravati and Akola, in Maharashtra. To be more precise, the feat was accomplished in 105 hours and 33 minutes with the help of 720 workers.
“Tremendous progress”. The phrase is from Gadkari again, although he uttered it in 2021, when he calculated that during the 2020-2021 fiscal year his department had built 13,394 kilometers of highway, which led him to talk about the construction of 37 kilometers per day. “Tremendous progress has been made in the construction of national highways throughout the country… These achievements are unprecedented and unmatched in any other country in the world,” she celebrated.
Around the same time, the Hindustan Times newspaper used a calculator and reported that in a period of seven years India had expanded the length of national highways by more than 50%. According to the calculations of the newspaper, based in Delhi, in March 2021 the country had built 137,625 km, compared to 91,287 in 2014. Another upward indicator is investment, with spending five times higher.
stepping on the accelerator. Another interesting estimate is that of Bank of America Securities India, which last year calculated that the country is on track to crown a notable increase in its infrastructure network: during the decade ending in 2025 more railways and highways will have been developed than in the long period between 1950 and 2015. At least according to his calculations.
In a matter of two years, the agency estimates that the national road network will reach 180,000 km. The deployment is not accidental: the country has a program, the Bharatmala Pariyojana, which seeks precisely to improve connectivity in the country. In addition to roads, India has in fact expanded its rail network significantly: Bank of America Securities estimates that by 2025 it will add 120,000 km, far from the 10,000 it registered in 1950. As part of that effort, it is building the highest railway bridge of the world, at 359 meters.
Cover image: Nitin Gadkari (Twitter)
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