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Geography - World & Indian (Infrastructure):

Written By STPORTAL on Sunday, March 18, 2012 | 2:59 PM

Geography - World & Indian (Infrastructure):

India has 3.3 million km of road network and the second largest in the world. The road traffic accounts for about 80% of the passenger traffic and 60% of the goods. The Nagpur plan for road development gave 4 fold classification of roadways. These are National Highways, State Highways , District Roads , Rural roads . National Highways are the prime arterial routes span about 58,112 km. throughout the country and cater to about 45 percent of the total road transport demand. In addition, we have border roads, International Highways and Express Highways. The Express Highways built for the fast movment of traffic. As the road construction is a capital intensive work, the Government has created Central Road Fund (CRF) created under the Central Road Fund Act, 2000. This was a major milestone in obtaining user charges to fund road construction. This was the financial foundation of an important project, the National Highway Development Project (NHDP), which entails expansion of the existing two-lane highways to four/six-lanes and strengthening of existing lances on nearly 13,000 km. The overall project is one of the largest single highway projects in the world.

The project comprises of about 5,846 km Golden Quadrilateral (GQ), connecting the four metros of Delhi, Mumbai, Chennai and Kolkata, and East-West corridors connecting Srinagar-Kanyakumari and Silichar-Porbander. The National Highways Authority of India (NHAI), is the implementing agency for the project. Phase I of the NHDP, consisting of the GQ, commenced in December 2000, and is scheduled for substantial completion by end 2003

Control of National Highway (Land and Traffic) Bill, 2002 has been passed in Parliament recently and notified. The Bill aims in preventing unauthorized occupation of highway land, it seeks to control access points to National Highways and regulate traffic on them, and establishment of Highway Administrations to enforce the law and setting up tribunals to hear appeals against their orders.

National Highway
Delhi – Amritsar
Delhi – Calcutta
Agra – Mumbai
Thane – Chennai
Baharagora – Chennai
Dhule – Calcutta
Varanasi – Kanyakumari (Longest)
Delhi – Mumbai (Raj-Guj)
Pathankot – Samakhiali
Panvel – Edappally
Delhi – Lucknow

Road Density

The first five states with highest density of surfaced roads in India are Goa, Punjab, TN, Kerala and Haryana in that order and in the case of UT’s Chandigarh, Delhi and Pondichery. At the end of 1997, the National Highway network had a length of 38,445 km, which amounted to less than 2% of the total road but carries 40% of the traffic.


India has the largest network in Asia and the 4th largest in the world. The first train ran between Bombay(Bori Bunder ) and Thane in 1853 covered a distance of 22 miles. The total length consists of broad gauge(41,971 km) , metre gauge (17044) and narrow gauge 3,710 km.. The Northern Plains have highest density region of 40km line per 1000 sq. kms . The high density region includes areas of Gujarat and Tamil Nadu . There is no rail line in Tripura, Meghalaya, Mizoram, Nagaland, Manipur, and Arunachal Pradesh. To accelerate the development of Railways, in the first plan, a locomotive factory at Chittarangan in West Bengal and Coach building factory at perambur near chennai was set up. Indian Railway has been divided into 16 zones and 59 divisions for operational convenience . Indian Railways is one of the largest employers in the world with 1.6 million staff. Railways indirectly empoly large number of people. The Rail share in total freight traffic, presently, is 40%. Plans are afoot to increase it to 60%. Indian Railways are not only self reliant but also export its products to over 20 Countries in South Asia, Africa, Latin America, the Gulf and West Asia. The public sector undertakings - IRCON International and RITES - extend their operations to the world market.


Under the Air Corporation Act , 1953 , the Indian Airlines was set up to operate all internal air services and Air India was constituted for managing international air transport. A third airline Vayudoot was set up as private limited company to serve the remote areas. The Pawan Hans Limited was set up to provide helicopter services to petroleum sector and connects the inaccessible regions of North East. There are other agencies which provides civil aviation services in India. Airports

The Airports Authority of India(IAAI) is responsible for providing safe, efficient air traffic services and aeronautical communication services for effective control of air traffic in the Indian air space. The Directorate General of Civil Aviation(DGCA) is responsible for maintenance and development of civil aerodromes, civil enclaves and aeronotical communication stations. . The Civil Aviation Training Centre is located at Allabad and the Indira Ghandi Rashtriya Urban Academy is located at Fursatgunj(UP) to train commercial pilots.

India has five International Airports at Mumbai (Santa Cruz), Calcutta (Dum Dum), Delhi (Indira Ghandi International Airport), Chennai (Meenambakkam) and Thiruvanathapuram.

National waterway bill 2006

A bill has been introduced in the parliament in Dec, 2006 to declare the Kalkinada-Pondicherry stretch of canals comprising of Kalinada canal, Eluru canal, Commamur canal, Buckingham canal and the Kaluvelly tank, Bhadrachalam-Rajahmundry stretch of river Godavari and Wizirabad-Vijayawada stretch of river Krishna as National Waterway.


India has 14,500 km of river channels are navigable, of which 3,700 km are usable by mechanised boats but actually 2000 km are used. Out of the 4,300 km canal length, 900 km is navigable but only 330 km is used.

The following are important navigable waterways

1) Ganga- Bhagirathi – Hoogly
2) Brahmaputra and its tributaries
3) Deltaic Courses of Mahanadi, Krishna and Godavari
4) Barak river (North east)
5) Rivers of Goa-Mandovi and Zuari
6) backwater of Kerala
7) Cannals such as
     a) Buckingham canal from Kommanur canal of Krishna Delta to Marakkanam
     b) Cumberjua canal which links Mandovi and Zuari
     c) Vedarraniyam canal links Nagapattinam port with vedarraniyam.
8) Lower reaches of Narmada and Tapti 9) Creeks of west flowing rivers on the west coast, such as Kali, Netravati and Sharavati.

The Inland Waterways Authority of India is responsible for the development and maintenance of National waterways . India has four National waterways.

1) Allahabad – Haldia stretch (1620km)

2) Dhuri – Sadia stretch of Brahmaputra (891 km)

3) Kollam Kottapuram stretch (168 km)

4) The champakara canal in Kerala (14 km)


Major ports handle about 75 percent of Indias port traffic while minor ports handle the remaining. There are 12 major and 184 other (minor and intermediate) ports, which service the Indian coastline.

The major ports are Chennai, Cochin, Ennore, Jawahar Lal Nehru, Kandla, Kolkata, Mormugao. Mumbai, New Mangalore, Paradip, Tutocorin and Visakhapatnam. These are managed by the Port Trust of India under Central Government jurisdiction.

The minor ports are located in Gujarat (40), Maharashtra (53), Goa (5), Daman & Diu (2), Karnataka (9), Kerala (13), Lakshadweep (10), Tamil Nadu (14), Pondicherry (1), Andhra Pradesh (12), Orissa (2) and Andaman & Nicobar (23). State governments administer the minor ports.

There has been an improvement in terms of total cargo handled at major ports during April-December, 2002 cargo handled by major ports registered 8.7 percent growth compared with 1.6 percent the corresponding period of 2001-02. About 81 percent of the total volume of port traffic handled was in the form of dry and liquid bulk, while the remaining 19 percent consisted of general cargo and containers. There has been an impressive growth of container traffic in the last few years - with growth rates of over 10 per cent per annum over the last three years. The highest growth was, however, observed in respect of food grains followed by containerized cargo, and iron ore.

Major ports on western coast Major ports on eastern coast
  • Kandla (Gujarat) - Tidal Port
  • Mumbai(Maharastra) - Natural harbour and handles Max. Traffic
  • Marmagao(Goa) - 5th position in terms of traffic
  • New Mangalore (Karnataka) – Iron ore from Kudremugh exported
  • Jawaharlal(Nhava Sheva) near Mumbay has modern facilities for cargo and sevice berths
  • Chennai (TN) – second largest in terms of traffic
  • Tuticorin(TN)
  • Vishakapattanam(AP) – Deepest Port
  • Paradeep(Orissa)
  • Calcutta (WB) – Riverine port
  • Haldia(WB)
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