Thursday, November 26, 2009

Sorry Bangalore, but you got a bad road ahead

Sorry Bangalore, but you got a bad road ahead

Union highways minister Kamal Nath says IT capital lacks basic road infrastructure

Sobia Khan. Bangalore

Namma Bengaluru came in for some scathing criticism from Union road transport and highways minister Kamal Nath, who said the IT capital had nothing in terms of road infrastructure.
"The biggest deficiency in infrastructure will be in the road sector and it is right here to see in Bangalore," Nath said addressing the Construction Equipment and Construction Technology trade fair on Wednesday.
Infrastructure is the biggest shortcoming in India's growth story today and the challenge is not just to develop but also to manage the network, particularly the rowdy element on the roads, the minister observed. "You all must be aware of how rowdy Karnataka is," he added in a lighter vein evoking peals of laughter from the gathering.
The country needs to bridge the deficit by creating more infrastructure to meet the increasing demand, he said.
Towards this, India has sought a $2.96 billion loan from the World Bank for two-laning of over 1,7,000-km of national highways in the country. The World Bank president Robert Zoellick is visiting India on December 2 to discuss the issue. "We are in the process of preparing the proposal," he said.
The minister also called for India-specific R&D and skill development to drive growth for the Indian earthmoving and construction equipment industry.
There is need for capacity-building across the spectrum of the infrastructure industry if the government is to achieve the target of building 7000 kilometres of roadways per annum, he added. The ministry is also in the process of setting up the Expressways Authority of India, a function that is currently being carried out as a division of the National Highways Authority of India (NHAI). The division was created 15 days back and would be constituted into a separate authority.
The Indian government is looking to set up 1,7,000-km of green field express ways.

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