National highways to have basic amenity centres every 25 km

March 8, 2016

Driving long distance on India’s national highways may no longer be a taxing affair with the government planning to provide amenities such as washrooms, drinking water and multi-utility shops every 25 km. (HT File Photo)

Planning an inter-city road trip but anxious about the absence of basic facilities along the road?

Driving long distance on India’s national highways may no longer be a taxing affair with the government planning to provide amenities such as washrooms, drinking water and multi-utility shops every 25 km.

A larger complex of services — rest areas for drivers, washrooms, bathing areas, restaurants, big multi-utility shops and adequate parking facilities — will be built every 50 kilometres.

The road transport ministry has unveiled a draft policy to standardise highway wayside amenities that are scarce and unevenly distributed, unlike other countries that have a uniform standard of facilities.

“In some highway stretches you have good restaurants and washrooms but in many stretches you have skeletal facilities. In some others, especially remote areas, wayside amenities are non-existent. So we decided to come out with a policy that has set uniform standard,” said an official.

The highways ministry will invite private players to build,operate and maintain the facilities for a fixed number of years. “We are exploring various modes of developing such facilities and augmenting the existing facilities,” another ministry official added.

On Friday while launching the Rs 30,000 crore Sethu Bharatam programme that envisages building new bridges and overhauling old ones, Prime Minister Narendra Modi also spoke about the emphasis on providing quality wayside amenities to highway commuters.

“We will soon hold a meeting with all stakeholders including private developers to get their views on the draft policy,” said a ministry official.

The ministry is exploring various modes of developing these services. These include development, operations and maintenance on a public-private partnership mode, where private developers would be given land to build and run such a facility for 15-20 year concession period.

For highway stretches that are not financially viable, the ministry is ready to try out the EPC(Engineering Procurement contract) mode where the government provides 100% funding for building the wayside amenities.

The ministry is also looking at incentivising petrol or diesel retail outlet owners on national highways for upgrading the quality of basic toilet-cum-drinking water facilities being provided.


Sources: Hindustan Times

All India Radio to Provide Live Traffic Updates from Nation Highways Soon

March 8, 2016

All India Radio (AIR) will soon provide live traffic updates for commuters to help them plan their journey via National Highways. The Minister of State for Road Transport and Highways, Pon Radhakrishnan told Lok Sabha in a written reply that the Highway Advisory service will be launched on a pilot basis soon and can also be replicated all over India.

“Highway Advisory services is going to launched shortly on a pilot basis on the stretch of National Highway 8, between Delhi and Jaipur, in three phases,” he said.

AIR stations located in Delhi, Alwar and Jaipur will broadcast the live updates in the first phase and 22 bulletins will be issued every day for three months.















Source: Wikimedia


The bulletins will include safety awareness content along with live traffic updates on NH-8, details of heavy traffic on particular spots and vehicle breakdowns on the carriageway and service lanes, if any.

This step is being taken because of an increased numbers of complaints regarding traffic jams on NH-8. The ministry will get regular traffic updates from Millennium City Expressways Private Limited (MCEPL) and air them on radio. MCEPL will monitor the expressway through CCTV cameras and patrolling vehicles. According to reports, a dry run for the broadcast has already started and the programme will be officially launched soon.

Sources: The Better India


December 10, 2014

Tunnels provide an effective method of linking hilly and other difficult areas, often curtailing journey time. The Indian road network does not have too many tunnels on date, but some of these constitute critical links of important highways in various parts of the country. Existing tunnels on roads and highways include the Jawahar Tunnel (2.6 km), a vital road link connecting Jammu with Kashmir, Bhatan Tunnel (1 km) on the Mumbai-Pune Expressway, and so on.

Several more tunnels are either planned or under various stages of construction in different parts of the country. The one under construction below the Rohtang Pass in the Leh-Manali Highway will be the longest (8.8 km) in India and the highest in the world, and would pass through the Eastern Pir Panjal range of the Himalayas.

Whether these tunnels reduce travel time between end points or are the preferred or only means of travelling between them, the adequate safety and security of travelers during transit is of paramount importance. The perceived security threats from natural and man-made causes may include:

 Blocked traffic
 from heavy snowfall outside (Jawahar tunnel faces this several time each year)
 from accidents or road damages (motorists come to know when they are already part of the blockage and cannot escape)
 from fallen stones or other material falling off the moving vehicles

 Lack of ventilation
 In shorter tunnels, the draft of air due to vehicle movement provides natural ventilation.
 In longer tunnels (typically more than 500 m), the air draft from moving vehicles becomes inadequate and additional means of forced ventilation becomes essential  Dark interiors
 most tunnels have little or no illumination in the interior and the motorists are dependent solely on their vehicle lights  In the event of vehicle light failure, the motorists are often required to move in pitch dark interiors

The modern day technology offers a range of solutions to mitigate these conditions, like -
 VIDS (Video Incident Detection System) – to detect incidents/blockages, etc.
 CCTV Cameras with infra-red capability to facilitate round-the-clock surveillance in tunnels
 VMS (Variable Message Sign) displays well ahead of the tunnel entry for advisories to motorists
 Dedicated communication facilities to enable users or maintenance teams to seek emergency assistance or to send SoS messages to Emergency Control Rooms

However there is no ONE SOLUTION THAT SUITS ALL – it must be customized to each specific location and site conditions.

Sudipto Chakarvaty

If you visit a good Dhaba on Highway

November 12, 2011

Visualize this : You are cruising along in your car along the wide lanes of a highway, feeling slightly weary from the strain of travel. Suddenly a tantalizingly familiar smell hits your nose as you pass by. You hit the brakes and enter a ramshackle place with plastic chairs arranged around a few half broken tables, with a boy or two running around to do your bidding. Welcome to this place and  this is none other than the Dhaba.

The ‘Dhaba culture’ has enchanted everyone at some point or another. Be it the peace of resting your head on the ‘khatiya’ or the enthusiastic gulping down of ‘chaach’ and of course, beer and chicken and tandoori roti.  Vegetarian do not miss out on the pleasure of a Dhaba either; the paneer and dals fascinate everybody.

The Dhaba tradition began with the intention of helping out truck drivers rest, eat meals and refill their trucks. They served Punjabi food on wooden cots and catered to truck drivers constantly plying outside city limits. Soon this popular habit turned into a tourist attraction. Now, we have students taking road trips to go and eat at that one Dhaba that serves hot parathas on that chilly highway! The food still remains as tasty as ever and yet continues to be inexpensive. Enthralling isn’t it?

Dhabas price their food much cheaper than any other restaurants on the highways. Businesses of the dhabas spike up on weekends and those are the busy days. Business and work is low on all other days. Dhabas are now noticing recurring customers. Such a culture never existed before. Students and families have now become loyal customers and Dhaba owners pride over such visitors.

One of the show Highway on my plate depicts the food culture on highways