Punjab government has taken a slew of measures for improving the link roads in the state. Though centre has been funding for upgradation and construction of highways the state government has effectively been utilizing the funds collected from the levy of market fee and rural development. It’s to the credit of ruling SAD-BJP government today that every village in Punjab has at least one link road. All the villages of the State are linked with the Mandis through this vast network of rural link roads which are carpeted every six years with the premix.In fact the success of agricultural marketing operations all over the state today is primarily due to the vast road network.
There is an extensive network of about 55000 kms of link roads in Punjab, out of which 22341 Km link roads have been either upgraded or repaired with an estimated cost of Rs.2581 crore. Apart from them about 7966 Km long new link roads have been constructed with an estimated cost of Rs. 1174 crores recently. Also the new link roads with length of 2319 Km are under construction with an estimated cost of Rs.387 crore. Besides, 6533 Km long link roads are being repaired with an estimated cost of Rs.682 crore.
Under Pradhan Mantri Gram Sadak Yojna (PMGSY) scheme 4135 kms long link roads have been upgraded with an investment of Rs. 1660 crores. Also 1230 kms of rural roads are now being upgraded with an estimated cost of Rs. 585.00 crores under PMGSY Phase IX and X. The work on these roads has already started and is expected to be completed during the next few years.
Projects already taken up
In June 2002, the rural length of link roads was about 42000Km. Since then about 6000 KM of link roads have been constructed under various schemes. Under Pradhan Mantri Gram Sadak Yojna more than 1500 km of link roads have been constructed. Under other projects which have been approved by chief minister Parkash Singh Badal and Chairman of Punjab Mandi Board, 3000 Km of roads have been constructed. As of now the total length of link roads in Punjab is more than 48000 KM. Besides new construction, link roads are being repaired from time to time.
It’s only due to the improvement of these lifelines the basic infrastructure for agricultural, economic, industrial, commercial, social and cultural development has improved magnificently for Punjab. In fact apart from developing link roads, the state government has taken key initiatives for improving overall road infrastructure in the State. These link roads have also helped in addressing the problem of traffic congestion in the villages and towns and by providing alternative routes.
There is an extensive network of 7373 Kms of Plan roads in Punjab. It includes 1462 kms. of State Highways, 1797 Kms of Major District Roads and 4114 kms of Other District roads.
Overall the government has plans to spend Rs 1,700 crore on up-gradation and expansion of rural link roads. According to Punjab Rural Development and Panchayat Minister Surjit Singh Rakhra, training would be imparted to Sarpanches and Panchs at the block-level and Zila Parishad and Block Samiti members would be trained at the district or state-level to facelift of the villages with rural roads, sewerage facilities and supply of potable water. He informs that that a digital map of the villages has been prepared to plan and work for their overall development in a strategic way.
A few other related projects
In fact travel by rivers, which is being taken by the union government in a big way too will help improving the road infrastructure in the state. “I have asked the Punjab Government to work out removal of canals on Satluj and Beas for waterways involving hovercrafts. There are 101 waterway projects under consideration to ease road and rail travel in the country,” said Nitin Gadkari, Union Minister of Road Transport, Highways and Shipping, during his visit to Punjab in 2015.