06 Oct 2022

Inspection vans will ensure world-class roads in India says Ministry

NEW DELHI : To ensure world-class roads in India, the ministry of road transport and highways (MoRTH) proposes a nationwide roll out of mobile inspection vans on national highways that would regularly test the quality of roads, without damaging the operational infrastructure.

The plan for introducing these testing vans will be rolled out in phases soon, government officials privy to the development said.

To start with, mobile inspection vans with capability of “non-destructive testing" will be introduced in four states - Gujarat, Rajasthan, Odisha and Karnataka. The pilot in these states will be followed by the launch of this initiative in other parts of the country. The pilot has already been launched in Gujarat.

About 2,000 km of testing using this advanced equipment is proposed to be undertaken per quarter. The numbers would be scaled up quickly as more and more states are included under the initiative.

The (mobile inspection vans) MIV will generate real-time data on the quality of construction and any deviation from standards or sub-standard work would be immediately shared with stakeholders through a portal so that corrective action could be initiated almost immediately.

The introduction of mobile inspection vans is part of the ministry’s commitment toward constructing national highways (NHs) of global quality. Use of these MIVs will augment the existing quality control and quality acceptance systems of NH works by introducing a more proactive approach for identifying issues related to quality.

To be sure, this won’t be an easy task.

India accounts for the highest number of road accidents globally resulting deaths and disabilities. But non-adherence of traffic rules and reckless driving are only some of the key reasons behind these accidents. Bad road conditions and defective road construction too have been pointed out as reasons behind these accidents. The MoRTH has been taking various measures to reduce the number of accidents by addressing these issues. Introduction of MIVs on NHs will be a step in that direction.

The paradox of India’s road infrastructure is that while its cumulative road network is comparable to the US and China, countries which are several times the size of India, the quality is not internationally competitive at present.

Of India?s total road network, almost 40% is unpaved, national highways constitute less than 3% and 40% of villages have no access to all-weather roads.

Potholes, flawed design, dangerously uneven speed breakers, lack of service roads and a general lack of maintenance marks Indian roads. India accounts for 11% of global deaths in road accidents while having only 1% of the world?s vehicles. Another reason for the poor condition of Indian roads is the lack of budget. MoRTH data shows the annual outlay for maintenance and repair of national highways is only about 40% of what is needed.