Developing road infrastructure on par with the global standards has taken the top spot in the list of priorities of the Government of India. The accident-induced fatality rate on highways has been on the rise for a multitude of reasons. To solve and address these issues, the National Highways Authority of India (NHAI) embarked on a mission to modernize the national highway network, under which it started several projects, including Wayside Amenities (WSA). Akhilesh Srivastava, CGM of IT & Highway Operations in the NHAI, is one of the persons instrumental to the project.
Under the initiative, the NHAI is going to build amenities alongside national highways. The objectives of this project are:
To Prevent Accidents
With having just 1% of world’s road vehicles, Indian roads have accounted for more than 10 % of all the road-related fatalities in the world. Although national highways constitute only 2% of the roadways, they are accounting for around 30% of all road accidents every year. A part of the accidents is attributed to stress-related reasons, which is a major issue that can’t be undermined. With the Wayside Amenities project, the NHAI is planning to bring down the stress-related accidents.
To Provide Advanced Amenities to Commuters
The NHAI has come up with three civic-amenity models under the project. Each model is branded based on the type of facilities that are going to come under them. Three models/brands proposed by the NHAI are – Highway Nest, Highway Nest (Mini), and Highway Village.
Highway Nests (Mini) – These are kiosks with facilities such as water-vending machines, ATMs, toilets, and so forth. Highway Nest (Mini) is going to come up on either side of Toll Plazas.
Highway Nests and Highway Villages – Both these models feature a number of facilities such as ATMs, fuel stations, hotels, dhabas, repair shops, village haats, and parking spaces for commercial as well as domestic vehicles. The only difference between the both is the amount of the space they are going to occupy.
Facilities that are going to be developed in five acres of land are branded “Highway Nests” and those that are going to occupy more than five acres of land are branded “Highway Villages.”
The Ministry of Road Transport & Highways also asked the farmers, whose lands are abutting the national highways, to partner with the NHAI in the mega project. In return, farmers get franchise rights.
To Provide Employment
WSA has the potential to generate employment for nearly 2 million persons, according to government estimates. The resident dwellers of the land abutting those national highways will be, according to the government, the largest beneficiaries in terms of employment. For instance, the haats are meant for residents to sell handicrafts to the people.
CGM Akhilesh Srivastava is going to deliver a session on the modernization of Indian highways in the upcoming 4th Annual Roads & Highways forum in Singapore on 09th April 2018.