National Highways
In an attempt to widen the national highways network further, the road and transport ministry has decided to convert over 7,000km of state roads into national highways entailing a staggering investment worth Rs 28,000cr. In this regard, the ministry has already sent the proposal for the Cabinet approval whereby priority will be given to areas affected by Left-wing extremism and also regions such as Telangana where about 130km of roads in Karimnagar and Khammam districts are not yet connected to the national road grid. As per the proposal, prepared on the basis of wish lists received by the ministry from various state governments, the plan includes about 5,000km of state roads of which over 2,000km are considered important from the security perspective.

In this connection, the sources said adding that highways ministry will cull out the relevant roads where the conversion will be applicable and about 7,000-7,200km will be upgraded to the national highway status. The proposal was initially taken up at a Cabinet meeting, where the ministry was advised that the matter should be discussed at the committee of secretaries. After discussions under this committee, the ministry has sent the proposal to the Cabinet again for approval. As per the lists submitted by various states, there are over 5,890km of roads where the district headquarters are not connected with the existing national highway network and then there are about 2,200km of state roads in regions including the Northeast, Jammu and Kashmir and Gujarat that have been identified by the security agencies as having vital strategic importance. The ministry has awarded contracts for only about 2,500-2,700km of roads this fiscal as against its target of 7,300km and if sources are to be believed it has decided to award about 3,300km of roads by the end of March this year.