Impact of road development on the rural economy of NE India

N Ram Singh *

NH-53 now rechirstened NH-37
NH-53 now rechirstened NH-37 :: Photo Courtesy - TSE

Transport and communication is the basic infrastructure for econornic development of a country. Highways and roads are regarded as arteries and veins of a State which are essential for sustainable economic growth. However, overestimation of the requirement and planning beyond the necessity of road transport would be delayed in the process of economic development of a region. The total road length of the NE region of India during 2001-2002 was 1,73261 kms against 2.4 kms per 1000 population of all India average.

The economic development of India and her northeastern region was sound during the plan period of 200l-2002 at GDP growth rate of about 8 per cent. The actual economic growth rate of the country has not been able to maintain after the expansion and extension of road transport since 2005-2006.

The country's road network consists of national highways, State highways, major district roads, other district roads and village roads. Out of the total length of national highways, about 30 per cent length is single lane/intermediate lane, about 53 per cent is two lane standard and the remaining 17 per cent is four land or more standard. Though national highways comprise only about 2 per cent of the total length of roads, they account for about 40 per cent of the total traffic.

National highways development project

The project is implemented by the National Highways Authority of India (NHAI). Phase I & II of NHDP envisaged 4/5 laning of about 14,330 kilometres of national highway, at a total estimated cost of Rs. 65,000 crore (at 2004 prices). These two phases, consist of the Golden Quadrilateral (GQ), the North-South & East—West corridors, Port Connectivity and Other Projects. GQ connects Delhi, Mumbai, Chennai and Kolkata. The North-South and East-West Corridors connects Srinagar in the North to Kanyakumari in the South and Silchar in the East to Porbandar in the West. Under the Port connectivity Projects, roads connecting 12 major port will be improved.

The main source of finance of NHAI for the implementation of various phases of NHDP is the fuel cess. The present rate of cess is Rs. 2.00 per litre on both petrol and diesel, a part of which is allocated to NHAI to fund implementation of NHDP. During 2008-09, an amount of Rs. 9,329.85 crore has been provided for the national highways and for state roads out of the same. Of this, Rs. 6,972.47 crore is for national highways and Rs. 2,171.64 crore for the state roads (including Rs. 500 crore from unspent balance of the previous years). An amount of Rs. 185.74 crore has also been allocated during 2008-09 for development of state roads.

Financmg of NHDP

The funds allocated from the cess are leveraged by NHAI to borrow additional funds from the domestic market. The Government of India has also taken various loans from the world Bank (US$ 1,965 million), Asian Development Bank (US$ 1,605 million) and the Japan Bank for International Cooperation (yen 32,060 million) for financing projects under NHDP. These multilateral loans are passed on to NHAI by the Government partly in the form of a grant and partly as loan.

NHAI also negotiated a direct loan of US$ 165 million from ADB for one of its projects. The funds provided to NHAI including the borrowings from the market are utilised for the projects and for servicing and repayment of borrowings from domestic market (Table)

Table: Financial structure of NHAI

Cess funds External Assistance Borrowings Budgetary
Grant loan support
2005-06 3,269.74 2400 500 1289 700
2006-07 6,407.45 1,582.50 395.50 1500 110
2007-0g 6,541.45 1,788.80 447.20 305.18 265
2008-09 6,9672.47 1,515.00 379.00 1,096.26 159
Source: Department of Road Transport & Highways

Special Accelerated Road Development Programme in the North Eastern region

The Special Accelerated Road Development Programme tor North-East Region (SARDP NE) aims at improving the road connectivity to State Capitals, district headquarters and remote places of NE region. It envisages two-four-laning of about 5,174 krn of national highways and two-laning/improvement of about 4,589 km of state roads. This would provide connectivity to 85 district headquarters to national highways/State roads.

The programme has been divided into the following two phases :
Phase A would include improving 2,619 km of roads consisting of 2,029 km of national highways and 590 km of State roads at an estimated cist if Rs. 16,286 crore. Of this, the Department of Road Transport & Highways (DoRTH), border Roads Organisation (BRO) and State PWDs have been assigned with the development of 1,795 km of roads. Out of this, 1,400 km of roads at an estimate cost of Rs. 4,285 crore has been approved for execution and the remaining 395 km has been approved lIin-principlell by the Government.

Improvement of the remaining length of 824 km of national highways IS to be done by inviting bids for construction works and balance length of 494 km will be taken up on BOT basis. Out of 1,400 km roads to be executed by DoRTH, BRO & State PWDs, projects' covering a length of 1,065 km at a cost of Rs. 3,378 crore has been approved till date and works are in progress.

The likely target date of completion for phase A is 2012-13.Phase B involves two-Ianing of 4,825 km of national highways and two-laning/improvements of state roads. Phase B is approved only for DPR preparation and investment decision is yet to be taken by the Government.The Arunachal Pradesh Package for Road and Highways involving roads of 2,319 km length was also approved by the Government.

Out of this, 1,472 km is national highways and 847 km is State/general staff/strategic roads.The high-powered inter-ministerial committee, set up to appraise and coordinate individual subprojects under SAHDP-NE, has approved sub-projects covering 1,065 km length at a cost of Rs. 3,378 crore, under phase A of the programme.Construction of rural mads under PMGSY

The Eleventh Five Year Plan has projected an investment requirement of Rs. 14,347 crore (at 2006-07 prices) in rural roads.

Table: Construction of rural roads under PMGSY

Year Length of road works completed(km) Expenditure (Rs. Crore)
2005-06 22891 4100.4
2006-07 30710 7304.3
2007-08 41231 10618.7
2008-09 52405 15162.0

During the first two years of the Eleventh Five Year Plan, an expenditure of Rs. 25,780.7 crore has been incurred on rural roads under PMGSY. Additionally, there are roads built by PWD and the Panchayati Raj institutions in the rural area (Table).Under PMGSY, the limited absorption capC:Jcity of states in terms of the number of programme implementation units (PIUs) at district level and at the State Rural Raods Development Agencies (SRRDAs) constrained the programme initially, but could be initially, but could be mitigated gradually.

Further, shortage of contractors is being felt is many states. Need-based relaxation in the binding capacity and packaging works has helped to overcome this problern to an extent. Besides, in the beginning, in some states, the personnel with the implementing agencies like the Rural Engineering Services, rural Works Departments, Zilla Panchayat Engineering Units and the Panchayat Raj Engineering Departments were not well equipped in road construction cornpared to their counterparts in the Public Works Department.

National Highways Development Project (NHDP)

About 27 per cent of the total length of national highways is single-lane/intermediate lane, about 54 per cent is two-lane standard and the balance 19 per cent is four-lane standard or more.

With a view to expediting the progress of the NHDP, the Ministry of Road Transport & Highways has set a target of completion of 20 krn of NHs per day, which translates to 35,000 km at the rate of 7,000 km per year during the next five years (2009-14). The NHAI formulated Work Plans (Work Plan I & II) forwarding 12,000 km each during the years 2009-10 and 2010-11.

These Plans lay down a specific timeframe for various activities and are being monitored very closely at various levels. Work Plan I (2009-10) covers balance stretches of NHDP Phases II, III & IV.

National Highways Development Projects (as in November 2009)(length in km)

NHDP Total Completed Under Balance for Component length 4 1ane implementation award of civil works
GQ 5,846 5,743 103 -
NS-EW 7,142 4,439 2,066 637
Port Connectivity 380 244 130 6
Other NHs 965 868 77 20
NHDP Phase - III 12,109 1,089 2,n4 8,306
NHDP Phase - V 6,500 148 886 5,466
NHDP Phase - VII 700 19 681
Total 33,642 12,531 5,995 15,116
Source: Ministry of Road Transport and Highways

After the last review of the road sector by the Prime Minster, a Committee (under Shri BK Chaturvedi, Member, Planning Commission) was set up. Based on the recommendations of the Committee, appropriate changes in RFQs, RFPs and MCAs are being considered by the NHAI. The NHAI is setting up 192 special land Acquisition Units (SLAU) in various States for expediting the LA process, which is identified as major bottleneck in the implementation of the projects. Seventy-two such units have already been set up.

Special Accelerated Road Development Programme in the North-Eastern region (SARDP-NE)

The SARDP-NE aims at improving road connectivity to State Capitals, district headquarters and remote places of the north-east region. It envisages two-four-laning of about 5,184 km of National Highways and two-laning/improvement of about 4.756 km of State roads. This will ensure connectivity of 85 district headquarters in the northeastern States to 2 National Highways/two-lane State roads. The programme has been divided into Phase 'A', Phase 'B' and the Arunachal Pradesh package of Roads & Highways.

The road development in NE India helps in the channelisation of market of all commodities throughout the region. Demand and supply determined the price level without affecting the cost of production. More and more men and women are involved in trading, transporting and other small business.

Role of multinational companies are also taking major share for increasing the volume of trade. On the other hand, the quantity of production in all sector are yet to be increased in proportion to the expanding road transport.

There are multi-facet problems and inconveniences in the northeastern hill region because of the recent implementation of road development project in N.E. Region. The major problems are :

  • About 20 lakh families are homeless because of eviction.
  • About 30 lakh families lost their traditional occupation.
  • All natural drainage systems are missing and blocked.
  • The levels of newly constructed highways are above the rooftops of most rural households, damaging valuable underground cable wires, water pipelines and electrict posts, etc.
  • The main business centres of the region are under the fly-overs.
  • The long National Highway above 7 feet from the general ground level creates an artificial dam in the valley area, creating large lakes during rainy season on either side of the highway. The main drinking water pipe lines of the towns and cities are destroyed in the process of construction of roads. Community ponds, fresh water lakes and fish farms are also damaged.
  • Animal grazing grounds and natural fishing grounds also vanished.
  • About 20 lakh small farmers have become landless.
  • Roads divide small clans and family life of rural society.
  • Most of the roadside farms and fresh water are polluted.
  • Thousands of century-old trees and fruit plants are up-rooted.
  • There were several cases of accidental death of man, animals including wild elephants, monkeys and leopards, etc. on the road.
  • There are cases of losses of many economically important trees and plants like teak, parkia, bamboo, arcanut, coconut and other fruit bearing plants because of large scale deforestation and changing local temperature.
  • Multiplication of transport vehicles on the road creates traffic jam and takes very long for all workers of the region. Motorism, overtime delay losses and over-consumerism of engines and electronics items are also alarmingly rising.
  • Shifting of occupation from their traditional experiences to newly available job complicates the lives of the rural people.
Policy Implications

Road development is important step for economic development. The development of road in proportion to the growth of the other sector like industry, agriculture and trade of the area is required for sustainable socio-economic development. The development in road and vehicle sector with a stagnant production and GDP growth would have adverse affect to the rural economy.

The main policies to be suggested for road development in the N.E. region are:
  • To develop natural drainage system according to the changing climate, i.e. cloud burst and heavy rainfall, etc.
  • To protect and preserve the wild animal’s footpath for the forest areas to save the accidental death of wild animals and to control man-animal conflict in the North Eastern India.
  • To develop rural road for bullock carts, footpaths, cycling roads for rural workers.
  • To control the number of vehicles according to the need and value of work.
Conservation of old trees, community parks, lakes, ponds and natural habitat of man, animals, fishes and other eco-friendly living objects, etc.

* N Ram Singh wrote this article for The Sangai Express
This article was webcasted on July 01, 2011.

* Comments posted by users in this discussion thread and other parts of this site are opinions of the individuals posting them (whose user ID is displayed alongside) and not the views of We strongly recommend that users exercise responsibility, sensitivity and caution over language while writing your opinions which will be seen and read by other users. Please read a complete Guideline on using comments on this website.

  • Tangkhul Zingtun Longphang #1: Gallery
  • Wungramphy, Khamgonpou: eMing
  • NEROCA FC Vs Indian Arrows #3 : Gallery
  • Career option in Human Rights
  • Water conflicts over the Brahmaputra
  • PAC against Killing of Pravish: 17 Jan
  • Neiphiu Rio resigns from NPF
  • NPF-BJP Relationship : NPF clarifies
  • Consolidating the sporting heritage
  • Rising air and noise pollution
  • Kukis have equal right... : Neiphiu Rio
  • Rajnath reviews security in NE
  • Lafoi Shamda puthorkpa #2 : Gallery
  • Sangai Fest: Commercial Stalls #3: Gallery
  • The joy of living :: Poem
  • Bamboo a tree or grass ?
  • SELF Workshop on Leadership & Fulfilment
  • The Killing Fields :: News Timeline
  • Fight against corruption; we need Lokayukta
  • Hailing the role of drivers
  • Nangna Helli Nungshiba #2 :: eRang
  • Pung Chollom : Gallery
  • Wakhal Seireng :: Book Review
  • Imphal Jamboree by Global Shapers
  • Importance of regular health check-ups
  • Meetei demand for ST is Constitutional.. #2
  • Weapon Display organized at Moreh
  • Ex-Servicemen Rally organized
  • AR helps Orphanage & Old Age Home
  • Search of comprehensive culture & identity
  • List of MLA (Jan 2018) #1 : Gallery
  • Manipur Gas Today :: Android App
  • Imoinu Erat Thouni #3: Gallery
  • GNRC media fellowship announced
  • The Meiteis- Festival & celebration maniacs
  • How to make bridal mehndi long lasting
  • Governor's attention drawn to RIMS
  • Scientist develops prototype of electric car
  • Stereotypes about NE make people living..
  • Light Show at Loktak Lake #5 : Gallery
  • Candlelight vigil for Pravish : Gallery
  • Imbroglio of ethnic identity of Ranglong
  • Foundation For Excellence scholarship
  • Time Table - Class XII Exam 2018
  • Mail spoofing- Trickery by deception
  • Trial by fire
  • Call for solution before election
  • Villagers along Myanmar border get pass
  • Meetei Chanu 2017 #3 : Gallery
  • Art and Artist, A Creative Space
  • NEROCA FC Vs Indian Arrows #2 : Gallery
  • Ode to Thy Mellow Light :: Poem
  • Xmas with Meitei eche at Phaijol
  • Time Table - Class XI Exam 2018
  • Indo-Naga Talks 2017 :: News Timeline
  • IMC , now another hurdle to traffic mgmt
  • Setting aside two days for the people
  • Maring: Kummui Chaa-um : Gallery
  • Miss Manipur 2017 #5 : Gallery
  • Statehood Day Women's Polo Tournament
  • Time Table - HSLC Exam 2018
  • Bananas: Beauty's best friend
  • DPC for Follower at Manipur Police
  • Job Openings at JCRE Skill Solutions
  • The lost treasure
  • Nagas' Interests : Stand of NPF MSU
  • Nagaland polls on schedule: HM
  • Mukna Kangjei Tournament #2: Gallery
  • Keisham Manihar : Natyabhusan(Leela)
  • World Tourism Day #3: Gallery
  • Responsibility of protecting the environment
  • Phishing vs Vishing: The Verbal Challenge
  • BNHS Bi-monthly Program for Jan-Feb
  • Managing weight for preventing diabetes
  • Making democracy peoples' participatory
  • Progressing from media to SC
  • Manipur to set up modern food lab
  • Gaan Ngai @ Kakhulong Khun: Gallery
  • A trip to Moreh #2 : Gallery
  • How long catchy slogans keep hopes alive
  • Recycling of hospital waste-water
  • I am sometime or somewhere : Poem
  • Angami Zapu Phizo's Surreal 2017 AD
  • Film "Legacy Of King Narak" awarded
  • Of PM and our CM
  • Patronising the killing machines ?
  • Deferment of polls unlikely: Ravi
  • PM may visit Manipur in March
  • Emoinu Khoiramba @Koubru #2: Gallery
  • NEROCA FC Vs East Bengal #2: Gallery
  • Transform Colleges into Innovation Centres
  • New Delhi: World Book Fair 2018 :: Review
  • Cry Of A Dying River...12 :: Poem
  • Workshop on National Pension for NE
  • Law enforcers action - Well & good
  • Final pact yet to see light of day
  • Cold wave hits Manipur
  • Take out the cymbals, Manoharsai to stay
  • Indo-Naga Peace Process :: Articles
  • MaiOn - Scenes #2 :: eRang
  • Imoinu Erat Thouni #2: Gallery
  • Miss Manipur 2017 #4 : Gallery
  • Is Global Warming Natural or Anthropogenic
  • Prof Gangmumei Kamei: Legendary hero
  • Common Education System rally organized
  • DAMMS launched 2018 calendar
  • Chorus for 'Solution Not Election'
  • NEROCA FC Vs Indian Arrows #1 : Gallery
  • Gaan Ngai @Moirangkhom : Gallery
  • I was born healthy, I wanna die healthy
  • Practice peace & change the life
  • TSA Moreh Block installed
  • Cycle Rally: common education system
  • Ethics, medical profession & soaring fees
  • Meetei Chanu 2017 #2 : Gallery
  • Inner Line Permit (ILP) Demand :: Timeline
  • Meira rally for Pravish : Gallery
  • Accelerate momentum to endTB for SDGs
  • The call that can't be turned down
  • Live@MDU: New act with same old vibes
  • 1st Centre of Excellence- Electronics Skill
  • LED Lights installed by Loktak Station
  • NE tragedy: Policy failures & influx
  • Angaoba - Scenes #3 :: eRang
  • 51st Mr Manipur Contest 2017 #3 : Gallery
  • Result: Manipur Sangai Intl Digital salon
  • Use Swachhata App to Make Imphal No. 1
  • Career @ events and celebration
  • Night nourishing
  • Indo-Nepal Friendship: 25 yrs of Don Bosco
  • Understanding the indices of life
  • Poppy cultivation & drug cartels
  • Emoinu Khoiramba @Koubru #1: Gallery
  • Day 10: Closing of Sangai Fest #4 : Gallery
  • The creation of the universe, matter...
  • Mumbai: The city of dreams
  • Let this new year kill your new fears
  • Asian Waterbird Census: Count waterbirds
  • Looking for a better inclusive alternative
  • Coaching & commercialisation of education
  • New Year picnic @ Singda Dam : Gallery
  • Miss Manipur 2017 #3 : Gallery
  • Despite Stolen Dreams :: Book Rvw
  • Handloom Training @Hojai : Gallery
  • The Perfect timing
  • IGAR (south) meets Chief Minister
  • Communique from Neiphiu Rio on NDPP
  • Discussion on 'Rohingyas' at Delhi
  • In the process of making change- Manipur
  • Looking ahead from vantage point 2017
  • NEROCA FC Vs East Bengal #1: Gallery
  • World Tourism Day #2: Gallery
  • Immediate Manipur
  • Easter Peace :: Poem
  • You are what you eat
  • Goals for Girls: Leadership Summit @Delhi
  • Imoinu Erat Thouni #1: Gallery
  • Eyek Tamba :: Learn Manipuri script
  • Front Page Photo #6: Gallery
  • LUCIFER-X released debut EP
  • ..on the ocean of despondence :: Poem
  • Happy new year to State lovers
  • New year, new me: Re-designing self
  • Quiz Competition & Career Awareness
  • Calendar for the Year 2018 :: e-pao Tools
  • Gaan Ngai : Zeliangrong festival :: Flash
  • 51st Mr Manipur Contest 2017 #2 : Gallery
  • Crowd @ Flower Festival @Mao #4: Gallery
  • Gaan-Ngai Festival of Zelianglong
  • Goodbye 2017, welcome 2018
  • Cry of a dying river- 11 :: Poem
  • Free Heart OPD & Echocardiogram
  • Peoples' mandate: what next?
  • Understanding Manipur and its history
  • Kwatha (Indo-Myanmar Border) #2: Gallery
  • Thang Ta @Parlimentary : Gallery
  • A Hymn for Goddess Emoinu
  • Bamboo for poverty alleviations
  • A costly peace deal
  • The song of the speech-impaired : Poem
  • Opportunity for NE Youth @Delhi/NCR
  • Chief Of Army Staff visits Manipur
  • Waiting for another begining
  • NE: Little change albeit promises galore
  • Flower Festival @ Mao #3 : Gallery
  • Miss Manipur 2017 #2 : Gallery
  • Why the Ngamu Fish ?
  • Unsung heroes
  • Wishing a goa in Manipur!
  • Handloom Weaver at Nagaon, Assam
  • Reminder on role of media & political party
  • Hospital death: Deliver justice if delivery ..
  • Restricted Holidays 2018 : Govt of Manipur
  • Lourembam Bedabati : Sangeetbhusan
  • Culturals @ Mera Houchongba #3 : Gallery
  • Handloom Training @Assam : Gallery
  • Ras Leela @Parliment committee: Gallery
  • List of RIST popular talks during 2014-2017
  • 'Good Governance Day' & Manipur
  • Christmas eve @ CCpur #2 : Gallery
  • Public Holidays 2018 : Govt of Manipur
  • Pui Thangamliu #2 :: eRang
  • Christmas Carol @ Lamphel : Gallery
  • Royal Crematorium at Bangkok #2 : Gallery
  • Christmas Carol at Namdulong : Gallery
  • General Holidays 2018 : Govt of Manipur
  • 3rd Flower Festival @ Mao #2 : Gallery
  • Lafoi Shamda puthorkpa #1 : Gallery
  • Nupilal Ningsing Lamjen : Gallery
  • cYK_rb TwaI :: Seireng
  • Manipur Sangai Festival 2016 #7 : Ooba
  • Manipuri Calendar for 2018 : Download it
  • Old Manipuri Movie #1 :: eRang Classic