Central monitoring system in place: Minister

The State Highways Department is implementing road infrastructure improvement projects at a cost of Rs. 10,000 crore, Minister for Highways and Minor Ports Department Edappady K. Palaniswami, said here on Monday.

Inaugurating the technical exhibition organised as part of the 73 edition of the annual session of Indian Roads Congress, he said that as part of modernisation and upgrading quality of roads in the State, state-of-the-art information gathering gadgets were purchased recently at a cost of Rs. 3 crore. A central monitoring system was also in place with GIS. Every year, 5,000 km of roads were improved in the State.

He said that Rs. 5,250 crore was allocated in the State budget for road infrastructure improvement. During the last 18 months, 8, 200 km roads were widened, 7,500 km roads were re-laid, 571 new bridges were constructed, and 14 road over bridges and underpass were completed. In 2012-2013, the State had allocated Rs. 2,262 crore for 4,943 km roads works and 150 infrastructure works.

In the next 10 years, 2,000 km roads would be made into six-lane or eight-lane, 5,000 km roads would be made four-lane and all roads in the State would be at least two-lane at a cost of Rs. 1.33 lakh crore, he said.

S. Damodharan, Minister for Agriculture Department, said that quality roads were imperative as traffic had increased. Heavy vehicles that moved goods from one State to another required good roads. Traffic flow was affected when new or improvement works were taken up on a road. Hence, alternative roads should be made available. Possibility of using manufactured sand (M-Sand) in road works should be explored. P. Umanath, Joint Secretary - Finance, Government of Tamil Nadu, said innovative solutions were needed for financing road projects and ensuring safety. Tamil Nadu was a pioneer in both. It recently launched a road accident management system. “Development of roads should not remain as technical elements alone,” he said.

A.K. Viswanathan, Commissioner of Police, Coimbatore City, said that police were the first agency to attend to safety on roads. “There is a need to innovate on efficiency of the existing road infrastructure,” he said.

M. Rajamani, Director General of Highways Department, said that the road density in Tamil Nadu was higher than the national average.

C. Kandasamy, Special Secretary, Government of India, Ministry of Road Transport and Highways, Niranjan Mardi, Principal Secretary (Highways and Minor Ports), Government of Tamil Nadu, Coimbatore M.P. P.R. Natarajan, P.N. Jain, President of the Indian Roads Congress, and Vishnu Shankar Prasad, secretary general of the Indian Roads Congress also spoke. The technical exhibition has 120 stalls and 12 to 15 machinery were also on display. In order to bridge the gap between professionals (field-level engineers) and institutes, students will make presentations at the conference this year.