NCERT Textbook - Transport and Communication, Class 12, Geography Humanities/Arts Notes | EduRev

Geography Class 12

UPSC : NCERT Textbook - Transport and Communication, Class 12, Geography Humanities/Arts Notes | EduRev

 Page 1


Unit IV Unit IV Unit IV Unit IV Unit IV
Chapter 10
TRANSPORT AND
COMMUNICATION
We use many items in our daily life. From
toothpaste to our bed tea, milk, clothes, soaps,
food items, etc., are required every day. All these
can be purchased from the market. Have you
ever thought as to how these items are brought
from the site of production? All the production
is meant for consumption. From the fields and
factory, the produce is brought to the place from
where consumers purchase it. It is the
transportation of these items from the site of
their production to the market which make
them available to the consumer.
We not only use material things, like fruits,
vegetables, books, clothes, etc., but also use
ideas, views and messages in our daily life. Do
you know we exchange our views, ideas and
messages from one place to another or one
individual to another while communicating with
the help of various means?
The use of transport and communication
depends upon our need to move things from
place of their availability to the place of their
use. Human beings use various methods to
move goods, commodities, ideas from one place
to another.
The following diagram shows the major
means of transportation.
Land T Land T Land T Land T Land Tr r r r ranspor anspor anspor anspor ansport t t t t
The pathways and unmetalled roads have been
used for transportation in India since ancient
times. With the economic and technological
development, metalled roads and railways were
developed to move large volume of goods and
2020-21
Page 2


Unit IV Unit IV Unit IV Unit IV Unit IV
Chapter 10
TRANSPORT AND
COMMUNICATION
We use many items in our daily life. From
toothpaste to our bed tea, milk, clothes, soaps,
food items, etc., are required every day. All these
can be purchased from the market. Have you
ever thought as to how these items are brought
from the site of production? All the production
is meant for consumption. From the fields and
factory, the produce is brought to the place from
where consumers purchase it. It is the
transportation of these items from the site of
their production to the market which make
them available to the consumer.
We not only use material things, like fruits,
vegetables, books, clothes, etc., but also use
ideas, views and messages in our daily life. Do
you know we exchange our views, ideas and
messages from one place to another or one
individual to another while communicating with
the help of various means?
The use of transport and communication
depends upon our need to move things from
place of their availability to the place of their
use. Human beings use various methods to
move goods, commodities, ideas from one place
to another.
The following diagram shows the major
means of transportation.
Land T Land T Land T Land T Land Tr r r r ranspor anspor anspor anspor ansport t t t t
The pathways and unmetalled roads have been
used for transportation in India since ancient
times. With the economic and technological
development, metalled roads and railways were
developed to move large volume of goods and
2020-21
114 India : People and Economy
people from one place to another. Ropeways,
cableways and pipelines were devised to cater
to the demands of transporting specific goods
under special circumstances.
Road Transport
India has one of the second largest road networks
in the world with a total length of about 56 lakh
km (morth.nic.in, Annual Report 2017-18).
About 85 per cent of passenger and 70 per cent
the princely states and British India. After
Independence, twenty-year road plan (1961) was
introduced to improve the conditions of roads in
India. However, roads continue to concentrate in
and around urban centres. Rural and remote
areas had the least connectivity by road.
For the purpose of construction and
maintenance, roads are classified as National
Highways (NH), State Highways(SH), Major
District Roads and Rural Roads.
of freight traffic are carried by roads every year.
Road transport is relatively suitable for shorter
distance travel.
Sher Shah Suri built the Sher Shah Suri built the Sher Shah Suri built the Sher Shah Suri built the Sher Shah Suri built the Shahi Shahi Shahi Shahi Shahi (Royal) (Royal) (Royal) (Royal) (Royal)
road to strengthen and consolidate his road to strengthen and consolidate his road to strengthen and consolidate his road to strengthen and consolidate his road to strengthen and consolidate his
empire from the Indus Valley to the Sonar empire from the Indus Valley to the Sonar empire from the Indus Valley to the Sonar empire from the Indus Valley to the Sonar empire from the Indus Valley to the Sonar
Valley in Bengal. This road was renamed Valley in Bengal. This road was renamed Valley in Bengal. This road was renamed Valley in Bengal. This road was renamed Valley in Bengal. This road was renamed
the Grand T the Grand T the Grand T the Grand T the Grand Trunk (GT) road during the runk (GT) road during the runk (GT) road during the runk (GT) road during the runk (GT) road during the
British period, connecting Calcutta and British period, connecting Calcutta and British period, connecting Calcutta and British period, connecting Calcutta and British period, connecting Calcutta and
Peshawar. At present, it extends from Peshawar. At present, it extends from Peshawar. At present, it extends from Peshawar. At present, it extends from Peshawar. At present, it extends from
Amritsar to Kolkata. It is bifurcated into Amritsar to Kolkata. It is bifurcated into Amritsar to Kolkata. It is bifurcated into Amritsar to Kolkata. It is bifurcated into Amritsar to Kolkata. It is bifurcated into
2 segments : (a) National Highway(NH)-1 2 segments : (a) National Highway(NH)-1 2 segments : (a) National Highway(NH)-1 2 segments : (a) National Highway(NH)-1 2 segments : (a) National Highway(NH)-1
from Delhi to from Delhi to from Delhi to from Delhi to from Delhi to Amritsar Amritsar Amritsar Amritsar Amritsar, and (b) NH- 2 , and (b) NH- 2 , and (b) NH- 2 , and (b) NH- 2 , and (b) NH- 2
from Delhi to Kolkata. from Delhi to Kolkata. from Delhi to Kolkata. from Delhi to Kolkata. from Delhi to Kolkata.
Road transport in modern sense was very
limited in India before World War-II. The first
serious attempt was made in 1943 when ‘Nagpur
Plan’ was drawn. This plan could not be
implemented due to lack of coordination among
National Highways
The main roads which are constructed and
maintained by the Central Government are
known as the National Highways. These roads
are meant for inter-state transport and
movement of defence men and material in
strategic areas. These also connect the state
capitals, major cities, important ports, railway
junctions, etc. The length of the National
Highways has increased from 19,700 km in
1951 to 101011 km in 2016. The National
Highways constitute only about 2 per cent of
the total road length but carry 40 per cent of
the road traffic.
The National Highways Authority of India
(NHAI) was operationalised in 1995. It is an
autonomous body under the Ministry of
Surface Transport. It is entrusted with the
responsibility of development, maintenance
and operation of National Highways. This is also
the apex body to improve the quality of the roads
designated as National Highways.
A view of traffic flow in Delhi
Rain-soaked : Nomads go about their routine during an early morning
downpour in Srinagar. Traffic on the 300-km Srinagar-Jammu and 434-
km Srinagar-Leh National Highways is suspended as upper reaches of
J&K saw heavy snowfall while rain lashed the plains.
Fig. 10.1
2020-21
Page 3


Unit IV Unit IV Unit IV Unit IV Unit IV
Chapter 10
TRANSPORT AND
COMMUNICATION
We use many items in our daily life. From
toothpaste to our bed tea, milk, clothes, soaps,
food items, etc., are required every day. All these
can be purchased from the market. Have you
ever thought as to how these items are brought
from the site of production? All the production
is meant for consumption. From the fields and
factory, the produce is brought to the place from
where consumers purchase it. It is the
transportation of these items from the site of
their production to the market which make
them available to the consumer.
We not only use material things, like fruits,
vegetables, books, clothes, etc., but also use
ideas, views and messages in our daily life. Do
you know we exchange our views, ideas and
messages from one place to another or one
individual to another while communicating with
the help of various means?
The use of transport and communication
depends upon our need to move things from
place of their availability to the place of their
use. Human beings use various methods to
move goods, commodities, ideas from one place
to another.
The following diagram shows the major
means of transportation.
Land T Land T Land T Land T Land Tr r r r ranspor anspor anspor anspor ansport t t t t
The pathways and unmetalled roads have been
used for transportation in India since ancient
times. With the economic and technological
development, metalled roads and railways were
developed to move large volume of goods and
2020-21
114 India : People and Economy
people from one place to another. Ropeways,
cableways and pipelines were devised to cater
to the demands of transporting specific goods
under special circumstances.
Road Transport
India has one of the second largest road networks
in the world with a total length of about 56 lakh
km (morth.nic.in, Annual Report 2017-18).
About 85 per cent of passenger and 70 per cent
the princely states and British India. After
Independence, twenty-year road plan (1961) was
introduced to improve the conditions of roads in
India. However, roads continue to concentrate in
and around urban centres. Rural and remote
areas had the least connectivity by road.
For the purpose of construction and
maintenance, roads are classified as National
Highways (NH), State Highways(SH), Major
District Roads and Rural Roads.
of freight traffic are carried by roads every year.
Road transport is relatively suitable for shorter
distance travel.
Sher Shah Suri built the Sher Shah Suri built the Sher Shah Suri built the Sher Shah Suri built the Sher Shah Suri built the Shahi Shahi Shahi Shahi Shahi (Royal) (Royal) (Royal) (Royal) (Royal)
road to strengthen and consolidate his road to strengthen and consolidate his road to strengthen and consolidate his road to strengthen and consolidate his road to strengthen and consolidate his
empire from the Indus Valley to the Sonar empire from the Indus Valley to the Sonar empire from the Indus Valley to the Sonar empire from the Indus Valley to the Sonar empire from the Indus Valley to the Sonar
Valley in Bengal. This road was renamed Valley in Bengal. This road was renamed Valley in Bengal. This road was renamed Valley in Bengal. This road was renamed Valley in Bengal. This road was renamed
the Grand T the Grand T the Grand T the Grand T the Grand Trunk (GT) road during the runk (GT) road during the runk (GT) road during the runk (GT) road during the runk (GT) road during the
British period, connecting Calcutta and British period, connecting Calcutta and British period, connecting Calcutta and British period, connecting Calcutta and British period, connecting Calcutta and
Peshawar. At present, it extends from Peshawar. At present, it extends from Peshawar. At present, it extends from Peshawar. At present, it extends from Peshawar. At present, it extends from
Amritsar to Kolkata. It is bifurcated into Amritsar to Kolkata. It is bifurcated into Amritsar to Kolkata. It is bifurcated into Amritsar to Kolkata. It is bifurcated into Amritsar to Kolkata. It is bifurcated into
2 segments : (a) National Highway(NH)-1 2 segments : (a) National Highway(NH)-1 2 segments : (a) National Highway(NH)-1 2 segments : (a) National Highway(NH)-1 2 segments : (a) National Highway(NH)-1
from Delhi to from Delhi to from Delhi to from Delhi to from Delhi to Amritsar Amritsar Amritsar Amritsar Amritsar, and (b) NH- 2 , and (b) NH- 2 , and (b) NH- 2 , and (b) NH- 2 , and (b) NH- 2
from Delhi to Kolkata. from Delhi to Kolkata. from Delhi to Kolkata. from Delhi to Kolkata. from Delhi to Kolkata.
Road transport in modern sense was very
limited in India before World War-II. The first
serious attempt was made in 1943 when ‘Nagpur
Plan’ was drawn. This plan could not be
implemented due to lack of coordination among
National Highways
The main roads which are constructed and
maintained by the Central Government are
known as the National Highways. These roads
are meant for inter-state transport and
movement of defence men and material in
strategic areas. These also connect the state
capitals, major cities, important ports, railway
junctions, etc. The length of the National
Highways has increased from 19,700 km in
1951 to 101011 km in 2016. The National
Highways constitute only about 2 per cent of
the total road length but carry 40 per cent of
the road traffic.
The National Highways Authority of India
(NHAI) was operationalised in 1995. It is an
autonomous body under the Ministry of
Surface Transport. It is entrusted with the
responsibility of development, maintenance
and operation of National Highways. This is also
the apex body to improve the quality of the roads
designated as National Highways.
A view of traffic flow in Delhi
Rain-soaked : Nomads go about their routine during an early morning
downpour in Srinagar. Traffic on the 300-km Srinagar-Jammu and 434-
km Srinagar-Leh National Highways is suspended as upper reaches of
J&K saw heavy snowfall while rain lashed the plains.
Fig. 10.1
2020-21
Transport and Communication     115
Serial No. Road Category Length in Km
1. National Highways 101011
2. State Highways 176166
3. Major District Roads  561940
4. Rural Roads 3935377
Total 4774454
Table 10.1 : India Road Network 2016
National Highways National Highways National Highways National Highways National Highways
Development Projects Development Projects Development Projects Development Projects Development Projects
NHAI has taken up some major projects in
the  country under different phases :
Golden Quadrilateral : It comprises
construction of 5,846-km long 4/6 lane, high
density traffic corridor, to connect India’s four
big metro cities of Delhi-Mumbai-Chennai-
Kolkata. With the construction of Golden
Quadrilateral, the time, distance and cost
of movement among the mega cities of India
will be considerably minimised.
North-South and East-West Corridors :
North-South corridor aims at connecting
Srinagar in Jammu and Kashmir with
Kanniyakumari in Tamil Nadu (including
Kochchi-Salem Spur) with 4,076-km long
road. The East-West Corridor has been planned
to connect Silchar in Assam with the port town
of Porbandar in Gujarat with 3,640-km of
road length.
Rural Roads
These roads are vital for providing links in the
rural areas. About 80 per cent of the total road
length in India are categorised as rural roads.
There is regional variation in the density of rural
road because these are influenced by the nature
of the terrain.
State Highways
These are constructed and maintained by state
governments. They join the state capitals with
district headquarters and other important
towns. These roads are connected to the
National Highways. These constitute 4 per cent
of total road length in the country.
District Roads
These roads are the connecting link between
District Headquarters and the other important
nodes in the district. They account for 14 per
cent of the total road length of the country.
Fig. 10.2 : Road constructed under the Pradhan
Mantri Gram Sadak Yojna
Why are the rural roads’ density very low
in hilly, plateau and forested areas? Why
does the quality of rural roads deteriorate
away from the urban centres?
Source: Ministry of Road Transport and Highways Annual Report 2017-18. For latest data see website morth.nic.in
Other Roads
Other roads include Border Roads and
International Highways. The Border Road
Organisation (BRO) was established in May
1960 for accelerating economic development
and strengthening defence preparedness
through rapid and coordinated improvement
of strategically important roads along the
2020-21
Page 4


Unit IV Unit IV Unit IV Unit IV Unit IV
Chapter 10
TRANSPORT AND
COMMUNICATION
We use many items in our daily life. From
toothpaste to our bed tea, milk, clothes, soaps,
food items, etc., are required every day. All these
can be purchased from the market. Have you
ever thought as to how these items are brought
from the site of production? All the production
is meant for consumption. From the fields and
factory, the produce is brought to the place from
where consumers purchase it. It is the
transportation of these items from the site of
their production to the market which make
them available to the consumer.
We not only use material things, like fruits,
vegetables, books, clothes, etc., but also use
ideas, views and messages in our daily life. Do
you know we exchange our views, ideas and
messages from one place to another or one
individual to another while communicating with
the help of various means?
The use of transport and communication
depends upon our need to move things from
place of their availability to the place of their
use. Human beings use various methods to
move goods, commodities, ideas from one place
to another.
The following diagram shows the major
means of transportation.
Land T Land T Land T Land T Land Tr r r r ranspor anspor anspor anspor ansport t t t t
The pathways and unmetalled roads have been
used for transportation in India since ancient
times. With the economic and technological
development, metalled roads and railways were
developed to move large volume of goods and
2020-21
114 India : People and Economy
people from one place to another. Ropeways,
cableways and pipelines were devised to cater
to the demands of transporting specific goods
under special circumstances.
Road Transport
India has one of the second largest road networks
in the world with a total length of about 56 lakh
km (morth.nic.in, Annual Report 2017-18).
About 85 per cent of passenger and 70 per cent
the princely states and British India. After
Independence, twenty-year road plan (1961) was
introduced to improve the conditions of roads in
India. However, roads continue to concentrate in
and around urban centres. Rural and remote
areas had the least connectivity by road.
For the purpose of construction and
maintenance, roads are classified as National
Highways (NH), State Highways(SH), Major
District Roads and Rural Roads.
of freight traffic are carried by roads every year.
Road transport is relatively suitable for shorter
distance travel.
Sher Shah Suri built the Sher Shah Suri built the Sher Shah Suri built the Sher Shah Suri built the Sher Shah Suri built the Shahi Shahi Shahi Shahi Shahi (Royal) (Royal) (Royal) (Royal) (Royal)
road to strengthen and consolidate his road to strengthen and consolidate his road to strengthen and consolidate his road to strengthen and consolidate his road to strengthen and consolidate his
empire from the Indus Valley to the Sonar empire from the Indus Valley to the Sonar empire from the Indus Valley to the Sonar empire from the Indus Valley to the Sonar empire from the Indus Valley to the Sonar
Valley in Bengal. This road was renamed Valley in Bengal. This road was renamed Valley in Bengal. This road was renamed Valley in Bengal. This road was renamed Valley in Bengal. This road was renamed
the Grand T the Grand T the Grand T the Grand T the Grand Trunk (GT) road during the runk (GT) road during the runk (GT) road during the runk (GT) road during the runk (GT) road during the
British period, connecting Calcutta and British period, connecting Calcutta and British period, connecting Calcutta and British period, connecting Calcutta and British period, connecting Calcutta and
Peshawar. At present, it extends from Peshawar. At present, it extends from Peshawar. At present, it extends from Peshawar. At present, it extends from Peshawar. At present, it extends from
Amritsar to Kolkata. It is bifurcated into Amritsar to Kolkata. It is bifurcated into Amritsar to Kolkata. It is bifurcated into Amritsar to Kolkata. It is bifurcated into Amritsar to Kolkata. It is bifurcated into
2 segments : (a) National Highway(NH)-1 2 segments : (a) National Highway(NH)-1 2 segments : (a) National Highway(NH)-1 2 segments : (a) National Highway(NH)-1 2 segments : (a) National Highway(NH)-1
from Delhi to from Delhi to from Delhi to from Delhi to from Delhi to Amritsar Amritsar Amritsar Amritsar Amritsar, and (b) NH- 2 , and (b) NH- 2 , and (b) NH- 2 , and (b) NH- 2 , and (b) NH- 2
from Delhi to Kolkata. from Delhi to Kolkata. from Delhi to Kolkata. from Delhi to Kolkata. from Delhi to Kolkata.
Road transport in modern sense was very
limited in India before World War-II. The first
serious attempt was made in 1943 when ‘Nagpur
Plan’ was drawn. This plan could not be
implemented due to lack of coordination among
National Highways
The main roads which are constructed and
maintained by the Central Government are
known as the National Highways. These roads
are meant for inter-state transport and
movement of defence men and material in
strategic areas. These also connect the state
capitals, major cities, important ports, railway
junctions, etc. The length of the National
Highways has increased from 19,700 km in
1951 to 101011 km in 2016. The National
Highways constitute only about 2 per cent of
the total road length but carry 40 per cent of
the road traffic.
The National Highways Authority of India
(NHAI) was operationalised in 1995. It is an
autonomous body under the Ministry of
Surface Transport. It is entrusted with the
responsibility of development, maintenance
and operation of National Highways. This is also
the apex body to improve the quality of the roads
designated as National Highways.
A view of traffic flow in Delhi
Rain-soaked : Nomads go about their routine during an early morning
downpour in Srinagar. Traffic on the 300-km Srinagar-Jammu and 434-
km Srinagar-Leh National Highways is suspended as upper reaches of
J&K saw heavy snowfall while rain lashed the plains.
Fig. 10.1
2020-21
Transport and Communication     115
Serial No. Road Category Length in Km
1. National Highways 101011
2. State Highways 176166
3. Major District Roads  561940
4. Rural Roads 3935377
Total 4774454
Table 10.1 : India Road Network 2016
National Highways National Highways National Highways National Highways National Highways
Development Projects Development Projects Development Projects Development Projects Development Projects
NHAI has taken up some major projects in
the  country under different phases :
Golden Quadrilateral : It comprises
construction of 5,846-km long 4/6 lane, high
density traffic corridor, to connect India’s four
big metro cities of Delhi-Mumbai-Chennai-
Kolkata. With the construction of Golden
Quadrilateral, the time, distance and cost
of movement among the mega cities of India
will be considerably minimised.
North-South and East-West Corridors :
North-South corridor aims at connecting
Srinagar in Jammu and Kashmir with
Kanniyakumari in Tamil Nadu (including
Kochchi-Salem Spur) with 4,076-km long
road. The East-West Corridor has been planned
to connect Silchar in Assam with the port town
of Porbandar in Gujarat with 3,640-km of
road length.
Rural Roads
These roads are vital for providing links in the
rural areas. About 80 per cent of the total road
length in India are categorised as rural roads.
There is regional variation in the density of rural
road because these are influenced by the nature
of the terrain.
State Highways
These are constructed and maintained by state
governments. They join the state capitals with
district headquarters and other important
towns. These roads are connected to the
National Highways. These constitute 4 per cent
of total road length in the country.
District Roads
These roads are the connecting link between
District Headquarters and the other important
nodes in the district. They account for 14 per
cent of the total road length of the country.
Fig. 10.2 : Road constructed under the Pradhan
Mantri Gram Sadak Yojna
Why are the rural roads’ density very low
in hilly, plateau and forested areas? Why
does the quality of rural roads deteriorate
away from the urban centres?
Source: Ministry of Road Transport and Highways Annual Report 2017-18. For latest data see website morth.nic.in
Other Roads
Other roads include Border Roads and
International Highways. The Border Road
Organisation (BRO) was established in May
1960 for accelerating economic development
and strengthening defence preparedness
through rapid and coordinated improvement
of strategically important roads along the
2020-21
116 India : People and Economy
northern and north-eastern boundary of the
country. It is a premier multifaceted
construction agency. It has constructed roads
in high altitude mountainous terrain joining
Chandigarh with Manali (Himachal Pradesh)
and Leh (Ladakh). This road runs at an
average altitude of 4,270 metres above the
mean sea level.
Fig. 10.4 : A Bus from Lahore to Delhi at Wagah Border
Fig. 10.5 : Aman Setu between Srinagar and
Muzaffarabad
Delhi-Lahore Bus
Fig. 10.3 : Khardung La Pass in Jammu & Kashmir
Apart from the construction and
maintenance of roads in strategically sensitive
areas, the BRO also undertakes snow clearance
in high altitude areas. The international
highways are meant to promote the harmonious
relationship with the neighbouring countries
by providing effective links with India. (Fig. 10.4
and 10.5)
2020-21
Page 5


Unit IV Unit IV Unit IV Unit IV Unit IV
Chapter 10
TRANSPORT AND
COMMUNICATION
We use many items in our daily life. From
toothpaste to our bed tea, milk, clothes, soaps,
food items, etc., are required every day. All these
can be purchased from the market. Have you
ever thought as to how these items are brought
from the site of production? All the production
is meant for consumption. From the fields and
factory, the produce is brought to the place from
where consumers purchase it. It is the
transportation of these items from the site of
their production to the market which make
them available to the consumer.
We not only use material things, like fruits,
vegetables, books, clothes, etc., but also use
ideas, views and messages in our daily life. Do
you know we exchange our views, ideas and
messages from one place to another or one
individual to another while communicating with
the help of various means?
The use of transport and communication
depends upon our need to move things from
place of their availability to the place of their
use. Human beings use various methods to
move goods, commodities, ideas from one place
to another.
The following diagram shows the major
means of transportation.
Land T Land T Land T Land T Land Tr r r r ranspor anspor anspor anspor ansport t t t t
The pathways and unmetalled roads have been
used for transportation in India since ancient
times. With the economic and technological
development, metalled roads and railways were
developed to move large volume of goods and
2020-21
114 India : People and Economy
people from one place to another. Ropeways,
cableways and pipelines were devised to cater
to the demands of transporting specific goods
under special circumstances.
Road Transport
India has one of the second largest road networks
in the world with a total length of about 56 lakh
km (morth.nic.in, Annual Report 2017-18).
About 85 per cent of passenger and 70 per cent
the princely states and British India. After
Independence, twenty-year road plan (1961) was
introduced to improve the conditions of roads in
India. However, roads continue to concentrate in
and around urban centres. Rural and remote
areas had the least connectivity by road.
For the purpose of construction and
maintenance, roads are classified as National
Highways (NH), State Highways(SH), Major
District Roads and Rural Roads.
of freight traffic are carried by roads every year.
Road transport is relatively suitable for shorter
distance travel.
Sher Shah Suri built the Sher Shah Suri built the Sher Shah Suri built the Sher Shah Suri built the Sher Shah Suri built the Shahi Shahi Shahi Shahi Shahi (Royal) (Royal) (Royal) (Royal) (Royal)
road to strengthen and consolidate his road to strengthen and consolidate his road to strengthen and consolidate his road to strengthen and consolidate his road to strengthen and consolidate his
empire from the Indus Valley to the Sonar empire from the Indus Valley to the Sonar empire from the Indus Valley to the Sonar empire from the Indus Valley to the Sonar empire from the Indus Valley to the Sonar
Valley in Bengal. This road was renamed Valley in Bengal. This road was renamed Valley in Bengal. This road was renamed Valley in Bengal. This road was renamed Valley in Bengal. This road was renamed
the Grand T the Grand T the Grand T the Grand T the Grand Trunk (GT) road during the runk (GT) road during the runk (GT) road during the runk (GT) road during the runk (GT) road during the
British period, connecting Calcutta and British period, connecting Calcutta and British period, connecting Calcutta and British period, connecting Calcutta and British period, connecting Calcutta and
Peshawar. At present, it extends from Peshawar. At present, it extends from Peshawar. At present, it extends from Peshawar. At present, it extends from Peshawar. At present, it extends from
Amritsar to Kolkata. It is bifurcated into Amritsar to Kolkata. It is bifurcated into Amritsar to Kolkata. It is bifurcated into Amritsar to Kolkata. It is bifurcated into Amritsar to Kolkata. It is bifurcated into
2 segments : (a) National Highway(NH)-1 2 segments : (a) National Highway(NH)-1 2 segments : (a) National Highway(NH)-1 2 segments : (a) National Highway(NH)-1 2 segments : (a) National Highway(NH)-1
from Delhi to from Delhi to from Delhi to from Delhi to from Delhi to Amritsar Amritsar Amritsar Amritsar Amritsar, and (b) NH- 2 , and (b) NH- 2 , and (b) NH- 2 , and (b) NH- 2 , and (b) NH- 2
from Delhi to Kolkata. from Delhi to Kolkata. from Delhi to Kolkata. from Delhi to Kolkata. from Delhi to Kolkata.
Road transport in modern sense was very
limited in India before World War-II. The first
serious attempt was made in 1943 when ‘Nagpur
Plan’ was drawn. This plan could not be
implemented due to lack of coordination among
National Highways
The main roads which are constructed and
maintained by the Central Government are
known as the National Highways. These roads
are meant for inter-state transport and
movement of defence men and material in
strategic areas. These also connect the state
capitals, major cities, important ports, railway
junctions, etc. The length of the National
Highways has increased from 19,700 km in
1951 to 101011 km in 2016. The National
Highways constitute only about 2 per cent of
the total road length but carry 40 per cent of
the road traffic.
The National Highways Authority of India
(NHAI) was operationalised in 1995. It is an
autonomous body under the Ministry of
Surface Transport. It is entrusted with the
responsibility of development, maintenance
and operation of National Highways. This is also
the apex body to improve the quality of the roads
designated as National Highways.
A view of traffic flow in Delhi
Rain-soaked : Nomads go about their routine during an early morning
downpour in Srinagar. Traffic on the 300-km Srinagar-Jammu and 434-
km Srinagar-Leh National Highways is suspended as upper reaches of
J&K saw heavy snowfall while rain lashed the plains.
Fig. 10.1
2020-21
Transport and Communication     115
Serial No. Road Category Length in Km
1. National Highways 101011
2. State Highways 176166
3. Major District Roads  561940
4. Rural Roads 3935377
Total 4774454
Table 10.1 : India Road Network 2016
National Highways National Highways National Highways National Highways National Highways
Development Projects Development Projects Development Projects Development Projects Development Projects
NHAI has taken up some major projects in
the  country under different phases :
Golden Quadrilateral : It comprises
construction of 5,846-km long 4/6 lane, high
density traffic corridor, to connect India’s four
big metro cities of Delhi-Mumbai-Chennai-
Kolkata. With the construction of Golden
Quadrilateral, the time, distance and cost
of movement among the mega cities of India
will be considerably minimised.
North-South and East-West Corridors :
North-South corridor aims at connecting
Srinagar in Jammu and Kashmir with
Kanniyakumari in Tamil Nadu (including
Kochchi-Salem Spur) with 4,076-km long
road. The East-West Corridor has been planned
to connect Silchar in Assam with the port town
of Porbandar in Gujarat with 3,640-km of
road length.
Rural Roads
These roads are vital for providing links in the
rural areas. About 80 per cent of the total road
length in India are categorised as rural roads.
There is regional variation in the density of rural
road because these are influenced by the nature
of the terrain.
State Highways
These are constructed and maintained by state
governments. They join the state capitals with
district headquarters and other important
towns. These roads are connected to the
National Highways. These constitute 4 per cent
of total road length in the country.
District Roads
These roads are the connecting link between
District Headquarters and the other important
nodes in the district. They account for 14 per
cent of the total road length of the country.
Fig. 10.2 : Road constructed under the Pradhan
Mantri Gram Sadak Yojna
Why are the rural roads’ density very low
in hilly, plateau and forested areas? Why
does the quality of rural roads deteriorate
away from the urban centres?
Source: Ministry of Road Transport and Highways Annual Report 2017-18. For latest data see website morth.nic.in
Other Roads
Other roads include Border Roads and
International Highways. The Border Road
Organisation (BRO) was established in May
1960 for accelerating economic development
and strengthening defence preparedness
through rapid and coordinated improvement
of strategically important roads along the
2020-21
116 India : People and Economy
northern and north-eastern boundary of the
country. It is a premier multifaceted
construction agency. It has constructed roads
in high altitude mountainous terrain joining
Chandigarh with Manali (Himachal Pradesh)
and Leh (Ladakh). This road runs at an
average altitude of 4,270 metres above the
mean sea level.
Fig. 10.4 : A Bus from Lahore to Delhi at Wagah Border
Fig. 10.5 : Aman Setu between Srinagar and
Muzaffarabad
Delhi-Lahore Bus
Fig. 10.3 : Khardung La Pass in Jammu & Kashmir
Apart from the construction and
maintenance of roads in strategically sensitive
areas, the BRO also undertakes snow clearance
in high altitude areas. The international
highways are meant to promote the harmonious
relationship with the neighbouring countries
by providing effective links with India. (Fig. 10.4
and 10.5)
2020-21
Transport and Communication     117
Table 10.2 : Indian Railways:
Railway Zones and Headquarters
Railway Zone Headquarters
Central Mumbai CST
Eastern Kolkata
East Central Hajipur
East Coast Bhubaneswar
Northern New Delhi
North Central Allahabad
North Eastern Gorakhpur
North East Frontier Maligaon (Guwahati)
North Western Jaipur
Southern Chennai
South Central Secunderabad
South Eastern Kolkata
South East Central Bilaspur
South Western Hubli
Western Mumbai (Church Gate)
West Central Jabalpur
Why have Bengaluru and Hyderabad in the South and
Delhi, Kanpur and Patna in north India have emerged
as important nodes?
Bharatmala is a proposed umbrella scheme for:
(i) Development of State roads along coastal
border areas, including connectivity of non-
major ports;
(ii) Backward areas religious and tourist places
connectivity programme;
(iii) Setubharatam Pariyojana, which is for the
consruction of about 1500 major bridges and
200 rail over bridges rail under bridges; District
Headquarters connectivity Scheme for the
development of about 9000 km newly declared
National Highways.
The programme is targeted for completion by 2022.
Source: Economic Survey 2015-16 pp.146.
Rail Transport
Indian Railways, network is one of the longest
in the world. It facilitates the movement of both
freight and passengers and contributes to the
growth of the economy. Mahatma Gandhi said,
the Indian railways “...brought people of
diverse cultures together to contribute to
India’s freedom struggle”.
Indian Railway was introduced in 1853,
when a line was constructed from Bombay to
Thane covering a distance of 34 km.
Indian Railways is the largest government
undertaking in the country. The length of Indian
Railways network was 66,030 km as on 31
March 2015. Its very large size puts a lot of
pressure on a centralised railway management
system. Thus, in India, the railway system has
been divided into 16 zones.
On the basis of the width of track of the Indian
Railways, three categories have been made:
Broad gauge: The distance between rails in
broad gauge is 1.676  metre. The total length of
broad gauge lines was 60510 km in March 2016.
Metre gauge: The distance between rails
is one metre. Its total length was 3880 km in
March 2016.
Narrow gauge: The distance between the rails
in this case is 0.762 metre or 0.610 metre. The
total length of narrow guage was 2297 km in
March 2016. It is generally confined to hilly areas.
2020-21
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