Pradhan Mantri Gram Sadak Yojana in its mission to provide rural road connectivity, has built close to 7.1 lakh kms of roads. The government had in March said that 99 percent of the targeted habitations have been provided all weather road connectivity under the scheme.
New and green technologies are increasingly used in the construction of PMGSY roads. To deliberate on ways to strengthen and adopt more such emerging technologies, an International Conference on ‘New Technologies and Innovations in Rural Roads’ was organized from 24 to 26 May.
On May 26, the asset management of low volume rural roads and innovations in maintenance and rehabilitation strategies for rural roads were discussed.
Pradhan Mantri Gram Sadak Yojana
The Pradhan Mantri Gram Sadak Yojana (PMGSY), ie, Prime Minister Rural Roads Scheme, was launched in the year 2000 to provide all-weather road connectivity to unconnected habitats of populations of 500 and above in the plains and 250 and above in hilly regions and other difficult areas.
In the year 2019, the most important phase of this scheme was launched for the consolidation of 1.25,000 km through major rural links connecting habitations to important social & economic infrastructure.
A total of 7,82,850 km of road length has been sanctioned under the scheme since its inception with an outlay of Rs. 3,44,500 crore. A total of 1,61,561 unconnected habitations have so far been provided all-weather road connectivity under PMGSY.
Though rural roads is a state subject, Center undertook this scheme as a one time intervention for rural road connectivity. North Eastern States are given the priority in this scheme. As against the project cost-sharing of 60:40 between Center and states in plain areas, the sharing pattern is 90:10 for states of North-Eastern states.
In the conference, experts spoke on why rural transport services are needed for the beneficial impact of PMGSY roads, and also on the need for community participation in selection, route choice and quality monitoring of rural roads.
New Technologies & Innovations in Rural Roads
Another highlight of the scheme is that more than 66,000 km of rural roads have been completed using green and new technologies. Consequently, roads were constructed more efficiently and quickly, carbon emissions were reduced and the environment was protected, as well as maintenance costs were reduced.
Major technologies being used are waste plastics, cold mix, stabilization using chemical or commercial stabilizers, cell-filled concrete, paneled cement concrete, etc. Recently, full depth recycling is being adopted in a major way to achieve cost economy and reduction in carbon footprint.
PMGSY has focused on innovations in rural road management. Prioritizing roads for construction and maintenance is done in a systematic way. Innovative practices for PMGSY include the use of mobile applications for quality inspections, grievance registration, and e-marg for maintenance monitoring, as well as web-based overall monitoring.
Pradeep Agrawal, Director (Projects-I), NRIDA elaborated that the National Rural Infrastructure Development Agency with the help of the CDAC and the National Informatics Center developed an evidence based digital platform for the maintenance of rural roads across the country. This IT solution for digital maintenance of assets can be replicated across all infrastructure works.
Lt Gen Rajeev Chaudhary, DG, BRO, delivered a lecture on overcoming challenges of infrastructure Development in hilly and remote areas. It is a proud achievement that in North-Eastern and hill states, the scheme progressed overcoming challenges like adverse climatic conditions, tough terrain, short working season over the usual challenges in other states like land acquisition, forest clearance and poor contracting capacity of states.
According to Nagendra Nath Sinha, Secretary, MoRD, the PMGSY project goal of connecting around 1.78,000 habitations is within hand’s reach and now the focus is on developing the rural economy. During his address, he urged engineering institutes to motivate their engineers and students to pursue research on new technologies and materials.