New Delhi: In the wake of the demands made by several states, the Central government is mulling to recognize 10,000 km state highways as national highways. A decision in this regard would be taken in the coming few months.

According to sources in the Union Ministry of Road Transport and Highways, every state is keen to transform its highway into national highway in order to shift the burden on the Centre.

“Be it Rajasthan, Gujarat, Maharashtra, Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, Bihar, West Bengal or Punjab all have sent their proposals to the Centre regarding this. Even, proposals from other states have been invited”, sources said.

The sources have also confirmed that out of 1 lakh km state highways nearly 10,000 km will be identified as national highways. Only those state highways will be selected where the traffic pressure is more.

Observers believe that the state governments want to reduce their burden as currently India has 70,934 km national highways whereas the total strength of state highways is 1,31,899 km. Even, the districts and other towns, which also come under states, have a network of 31 lakh km.

This way out of total 33 lakh km, national highways participation is a mere 2 percent.

On the other hand an increase in the number of vehicles has added to the pressure of traffic on these state highways. Hence, it becomes difficult for the states to manage the funds. Currently the management of these state highways is done with the financial aids from Central Road Funds.

Notably, 30 percent of the national road fund is kept for the maintenance of state highways. This help is mainly for those states which are facing financial crunch and are unable to maintain their highways.

The Central government after selection of the 2-lane highways will convert them into 4-lane. Presently, India has more than 325 national highways.

(JPN/Bureau)