Ever since Independence various strategies have been formulated to promote road development in the country.
1. Nagpur Plan (1943)
This plan fixed up a target of increasing the length of major roads to 1, 96,800 km and of other roads t6 3, 32,800 km by 1953. The plan envisaged that no village in a developed agricultural region should be more than 8 km away from a major road or 3 km away from any other road, while the average distance of villages from the major road should be less than 3.2 km.
In non-agricultural areas the respective distance of a village from the major and minor road was fixed at 32.8 and 10 kms. Due to fragmentation of the country into numberof princely states during pre-Independence days Nagpur Plan could not meet desired results.
2. Twenty-Year Road Plan
This Plain (also called Hyderabad Plan) for road development was initiated in 1961 for a period of 20 years to increase the country’s road length from 6.56 lakh km to 10.60 lakh km and make national highways as two-lane carriage-ways.
It also aimed at bringing every village (i) in the developed agricultural area within 6.4 km of a medaled road and 2.4 km of any other road; (ii) in a semi-developed area within 12.8 km and 4.8 km respectively; and (iii) in an undeveloped or uncultivated area within 19.2 km and 8 km respectively. The Plan also targeted to bring the road density to 32 km per 100 sq. km of area. The total estimated expenditure was Rs. 5,200 crores.
3. Rural Development Plan
This includes construction of rural roads under Minimum Needs Programme (MNP), Rural Landless Employment Guarantee Programme (RLEGP), Jawahar Rojgar Yojana (JRY), and Command Area Development (CAD) programmes to connect all villages having a population of 1500 or more with all-weather road and those having less than the population of 1500 with link roads.
4. Build Operate Transfer (BOT)
Under the scheme private sector has been invited to invest in road development projects. Some 18 bridges and by-passes involving a total investment of Rs. 880 crores, have been constructed or under construction on the National Highways on a BOT basis. Agreement has been reached for 4- laning of the Jaipur-Kishengarh, section of NH-8. The National Highways Act has been amended to make room for such private investment.
5. Central Road Fund (CRF)
The Government has imposed additional excise/customs duty at the rate of rupee one per liter on petrol i.e. June 2, 1998 and on HSD i.e. February 28, 1999 to create Central Road Fund. Fifty per cent of the levy on diesel will be used to improve rural connectivity. Remaining amount will be used for the development of state roads (30 per cent) and national highways 57.5 per cent and rail/road over bridges (12.5 per cent). The chess of petrol and NSD is likely to yield Rs. 5,000 crore per year.
Freight and Passenger Traffic on Roads
In India the freight and passenger traffic carried on roads has increased enormously over the years. While in 1950-51 the road network carried about 12 per cent of the total freight traffic and 26 per cent of the passenger traffic, in 2003-04 he share in freight traffic was about 61 per cent and in passenger traffic nearly 85 per cent. In quantity terms, the freight traffic on roads has increased from 4 billion tone km (BTK) in 1950-51 to 380 BTK in 1996-97, and passenger traffic from 10 BPK to nearly 700 billion passenger km (BPK) during the same period. The number of registered vehicles has also risen sharply over the decade from about 3 lakhs in 1950- 51 to a little over 67 million in 2002-03.