5 RURAL ROADS J.K. Mohapatra and B.P. Chandrasekhar A community without roads does not have a way out increased non-farm employment and higher rural wages also —A poor man, Juncal, Ecuador enhance incomes of the rural poor and consequently, reduce If we get the road, we would get everything else, community rural poverty. This study estimated that while the ‘productivity centre, employment, post-office, telephone effect’ of government spending on rural roads accounts for —A young woman, Little Bay, Jamaica 24 per cent of total impact on poverty, increased non-farm employment accounts for 55 per cent and higher rural wages Many of the poor communities are isolated by distance, bad road conditions, lack of or broken bridges and inadequate accounts for the remaining 31 per cent. Further, of the total transport. These conditions make it difficult for people to get productivity effect on poverty, 75 per cent arises from the their goods to market and themselves to place of work, to handle direct impact of roads in increasing incomes, while the health emergencies, to send children to school, and to obtain remaining 25 per cent arises from lower food prices (15 per public services. cent) and increased wages (10 per cent). Similar results are Narayan et al. 2000 found in other developing countries. The study by the same institute (Fan et al. 2000)) in China revealed that with every 10,000 Yuan (about $1200) spent on rural roads elevenINTRODUCTION persons are lifted above the poverty line. Living StandardR ural Road connectivity is a key component of rural Survey in Vietnam in 2002 showed that populations living development, since it promotes access to economic within 2 km of all-weather roads have lower poverty rates as and social services, thereby generating increased noted in the draft Vision Document for Rural Roads, 2006agricultural productivity, non-agriculture employment as well (MoRD, 2006).as non-agricultural productivity, which in turn expands rural Statistical evidence apart, the link between poverty and lackgrowth opportunities and real income through which poverty of accessibility is quite apparent. Nearer home, a householdcan be reduced. survey (APERP, 1997) conducted in the state of Andhra A study (Fan et al. 1999) carried out by the International Pradesh indicated that the rural road improvements lead toFood Policy Research Institute on linkages between government substantial reduction in freight charges, increase in householdexpenditure and poverty in rural India has revealed that an income, more employment opportunities, and expansion ofinvestment of Rs 1 crore in roads lifts 1650 poor persons cultivated land as shown in Figures 5.1, 5.2, and 5.3.above the poverty line. Public investment on roads impactsrural poverty through its effect on improved agriculturalproductivity, higher non-farm employment opportunities and STATUS OF RURAL ROADS IN INDIAincreased rural wages. Improvement in agricultural productivity Roads are classified under a time-honoured system intonot only reduces rural poverty directly by increasing income National Highways (NHs), State Highways (SHs), Majorof poor households, it also causes decline in poverty indirectly District Roads (MDRs), Other District Roads (ODRs), andby raising agricultural wages and lowering food prices (since Village Roads (VRs), with well-recognized standards forpoor households are net buyers of foodgrains). Similarly, construction and maintenance laid out in respect of each
110 India Infrastructure Report 2007 Annual Average Income and Expenditure per Household (SGRY), scarcity relief funds, and untied funds devolved by 30000 States. Consequently, it is difficult, if not impossible, to assess 25000 the exact amount that is being spent for the maintenance 20000 and construction of ODRs and VRs. The overlapping of Rupees 15000 responsibilities and the fragmentation of funds between 10000 agencies for maintenance and development of roads is a source 5000 0 of inefficiency and confusion. Quite often, the only point Connected Unconnected where all these responsibilities and funds converge is at the Annual Average Income in Rs Annual Average Expenditure in Rs level of the local implementing officer, the Assistant Executive Engineer, who is used by all agencies named above for Fig. 5.1 Comparative Average Income and Expenditure of implementation. This thinly spread management structure is Connected and Unconnected Villages inefficient; it does not ensure good monitoring or downward accountability and unnecessarily complicates planning. Average Goods Transportation Cost India has a rural road network of about 2.7 million km 3 developed with an investment of almost Rs 35,000 crore, Rupees Quintal per Km Badly Maintained estimated to have a replacement value of about Rs 180,000 Roads 2 crore. This constitutes over 80 per cent of the total road network, however, about a million km length of the road 1 All Weather Roads Fair-Weather does not meet the technical standards required. According to Roads in Good Condition government statistics, by year 2000, India had connectivity 0 to almost all villages with populations of over 1500, 86 per cent with 1000 to 1500 inhabitants, and 43 per cent of villages Fig.5.2 Goods Transportation Cost on Different Types of Roads with less than 1000 population (Figure 5.4). Successive plans aimed at achieving higher road densities Impacts of Improvement on Roads and managed to over achieve it (Table 5.1). Even though, 6% the total length of rural roads targetted at the end of the 25% 10% Lucknow Plan appeared to be large, it must be noted that 14% almost 100,000 km of the roads were constructed under different employment generation schemes and poverty alleviation programmes such as Food for Work, National Rural 24% Employment Programme and Jawahar Rojgar Yojana. The 21% Bringing outside Teachers Expansion of cultivated land roads were of indifferent quality constructed by unskilled Bringing outside Doctors More seasonal work opportunities labour. The objective of these programmes was provision of Purchase of more fertilizers Higher intensity of cultivation sustenance support to the rural people. The technical standards of asset quality were not insisted upon and construction wasFig. 5.3 Impact on Standard of Living from Improvement on Roads often restricted to earthen tracks with no provision even forcategory. Generally speaking, there are clearly understood Number of villages connected (%) 120demarcations of responsibility in terms of governmental offices 100expected to deal with each category. However, while the activity 80mapping with respect to NHs and SHs is clear cut, with respect 60to MDRs, ODRs, and VRs, these distinctions are blurred.In many states, though PRIs are assigned responsibilities with 40respect to ODRs and VRs, a plethora of agencies and line 20departments undertake formation and repairs of roads. These 0include the state government’s PWD wing, the Agricultural By 1980 By 1985 By 1990 By 1995 By 2000Produce Marketing Committees (APMCs), parallel bodies Village Populationcreated by multilateral agencies, Forest department, Development >1500 1000–1500 <1000 Totalauthorities and so on. There are several general funds that are used for roads, Fig. 5.4 Connectivity Statusapart from special schemes tied to specific road projects. Thusroads are repaired using Sampoorna Grameen Rozgar Yojana Source: Planning Commission & MoRD (2006).
Rural Roads 111 Table 5.1 Basis for assessment, assessed targets and expected densities in the Road Development Plans. Targets Achievement Target densityName of the Plan Basis of fixation of targets km km (All roads)Nagpur Plan Length of ODRs + VRs 332,335 500,802 0.32 km per sq km(1943–61) assessed on the basis of number of villages with population 500 and less, 501–1000, 1001–2000, and 2001–5000.Bombay Plan Length based on the number of villages 651,780 912,684 0.46 km per sq km(1961–81) with population less than 500, 500–1000, 1000–2000, and 2000–5000Lucknow Plan Length assessed on the basis of number 2,189,000 2,994,000 0.82 km per sq km(1981–01) of villages and towns.cross drainage or side drainage. Since water is the main enemy of roads, the total system suffers often resulting in undesirableof the sustainability of roads, roads constructed under such rural–urban migration. Investments are concentrated only inemployment generation schemes were often not durable. the higher order roads for construction and maintenance with Rural roads have suffered greatly due to lack of systematic rural roads receiving less priority than they deserve. Ruralplanning. While rural road development plans provided for households are deprived of their legitimate right to basica network structure and target lengths of different types of access. This calls for policies and programmes that aim atroads, specific connectivity requirements of individual settlements developing an integrated network with due priorities and(villages/habitation) and issues of regional imbalances were necessary interfaces.not adequately addressed. This led to more than one connection In the context of rural roads, a higher degree of care isfor the same village resulting in redundancy and development required at the planning stage to integrate connectivity needsof a large unmanageable network. While constructing rural of scattered settlements. The construction of a road connectingroads, adequate care was not taken in adopting need based a habitation must be augmented by means of transportation,designs, parameters for pavement construction, quality enhanced by appropriate facility creation in health, educationassurance, and quality control. Multiplicity of organizations and so on. The utility of the network can be best appreciatedinvolved in the rural roads development led to uncoordinated with such integration of accessibility with social infrastructure.efforts, adhoc decisions, and a lopsided network structure. Keeping this in mind, the central government constituted the National Rural Roads Development Committee (NRRDC) in January 2000. The report of NRRDC 2000 resulted inGaps in the Planning Process the formulation of the Pradhan Mantri Gram Sadak YojanaThe planning of the network structure was not taken seriously. (PMGSY) with an aim to provide all-weather roads to almostThe structure of the network was not subjected to evaluation all rural habitations in the country (MoRD 2000).through the assessment of indices concerning accessibility,connectivity, circuitry and so on. Though the conceptual plansand targets had been worked out, the absence of detailed work PRADHAN MANTRI GRAM SADAK YOJANAplans resulted in a non-integrated network, with several missing Launching and Operationalization of PMGSYlinks and critical bridges. This invariably resulted in the lossof mobility due to discontinuities in the network and forced Based on the recommendations of NRRDC the GOIcircuitous journeys. During the development of the roads launched the PMGSY on 25 December 2000 under theinterfaces among the hierarchical roads were not properly Ministry of Rural Development, as a 100 per cent centrallyaddressed, resulting in deficiency in the functionality and sponsored scheme. Fifty per cent of the cess on high speedefficiency of the total network. diesel was earmarked for financing this scheme. The primary objective of PMGSY is to provide connectivity, by way of all- weather roads (with necessary culverts and cross drainageNeed for Integrated Network Development structures operable throughout the year) to unconnectedConceptually, traffic flows from the lower order settlements habitations in the rural areas in such a way that habitationsto the higher ones in pursuit of opportunities. If planning with populations of 1000 persons and above are covered infails to capture this phenomenon with appropriate integration three years (2000–3) and all unconnected habitations with a
112 India Infrastructure Report 2007 Box 5.1 The Concept and Utility of Core Network The DRRP is a compendium of the existing and proposed road network system in the district which clearly identifies the proposed roads for connecting the yet unconnected habitations to already connected habitations or all-weather roads, in an economically efficient way. While selecting the connectivity to the unconnected habitation by single all weather road, optimization principle is applied through Utility Value and Road Index for linkage of the selected habitation with an already connected habitation. The Core Network (CN) is a subset of DRRP and represents the minimum network that ensures connectivity to all the eligible habitations through single all weather roads. This enables continuity with the nearest market centre (either existing or a potential one). This network is the minimum network that is to be kept in good condition. It consists of identified link routes and through routes. Link Route: Link Routes are the roads connecting a single habitation or a group of habitations to through routes or district roads leading to market centres. Through Route: Through routes are the roads which collect traffic from several link roads or a long chain of habitations and lead it to marketing centres either directly or through the higher category of roads. Source: Ministry of Rural Development.population of 500 persons and above by the end of the Tenth starting point of the exercise. The Core Network will be thePlan Period (2007). In respect of the Hill States (North-East, basic instrument for prioritization of construction, upgradation,Sikkim, Himachal Pradesh, Jammu & Kashmir, Uttaranchal) and allocation of funds for maintenance.and the Desert Areas (as identified in the Desert Development The concept of DRRP and CN are important to achieveProgramme) as well as the Tribal (Schedule V) areas the network efficiency (Box 5.1). A typical Block map withobjective would be to connect habitations with population DRRP and Core Network are shown in Figures 5.5 and 5.6of 250 persons and above. respectively. Detailed guidelines were issued to all the states for theimplementation of PMGSY, identifying state nodal agencies, Quality Control SystemExecuting agencies, and Programme Implementation Units(PIUs). Guidelines also envisaged the setting up of State Under the PMGSY, quality is sought to be ensured throughLevel Standing Committees (SLSCs) for monitoring and a three-tier Quality Control System, in which the Executingcoordinating programme implementation. Guidelines wereprovided for project preparation, scrutiny, tendering, execution, District Rural Roads Planquality management, monitoring of the project, maintenance, Simdega Block, Simdega District, Jharkhandas well as procedures for fund flow. N W E S Katasaru LelongInstitutional Development under PMGSY Gondalipani Asanbera Bhundupani SarlongaTo ensure efficient, streamlined execution of works under Purnapani Takaba Kuskela Karamukh Jamadori POPTOTAL Chiarikani HardiberaPMGSY, a series of interventions have been made to enhance Bengarpani Khanjaloya Keondih 0–250 251–500 Ghagharithe programme implementation capacity of the states and to Kindardega Basatpur Kobang Bhelwadih Pahargurda 501–1000 1000 and above Hathabari Banabira Kesalpu Pakartanrensure ‘on time’ completion, cost management, and rigorous Kinbira Kairbera Paledih Kongseri Danargurda Kamtara Taisera Maskera Tamaraquality control. These interventions are summarized below. Kulkera Dumardih Manesera Biru Belkarcha Sikiriatar Chiksura Fulwatanga Sokari Sarkhutoli Tabhadih Ankara Arani Sogara Barkatangar Sewai Bandojore EhuSabera Birkera Madhuban Khotitoli Kochedega Hawatoli Baghlatta Bangru Koliadamar SunsewaiDRRP and Core Network Birkera Tilga Sarja Ghosara Bhawarpani Kudrum Guida Bigari Pithara Kasaidohar Barabarpani Thailkobera Tumdegi ChotabarpaniThe concept of Core Network has been operationalized for Merumloya Katukona Tina Kharwagartha Bindhaitoli Belgar Jogbalrai Barkichhapa Muiathe first time, under PMGSY, in order to focus on the set ofroads considered essential to provide connectivity to all 0 1 2 4 6 8 Million less Central Road Research Institute, New Delhihabitations of the desired size. The District Rural Road Plan(DRRP) which inventorizes the entire Road Network is the Fig. 5.5 DRRP for a Typical Block
Rural Roads 113 Core Network Plan the integrated development of all rural roads schemes, Simdega Block, Simdega District, Jharkhand including PMGSY. Funds for the PMGSY programme are W N E routed to these SRRDAs and are operated by the designated S Katasaru officers in each of the district PIUs, under a works accounting Lelong Gondalipani system specifically designed for PMGSY by the Institute of Asanbera Bhundupani Sarlonga Public Auditors of India (IPAI). Kuskela Purnapani Karamukh Takaba Jamadori POPTOTAL Chiarikani Hardibera Khanjaloya Bengarpani 0–250 Keondih Kindardega Basatpur Ghaghari Bhelwadih 251–500 501–1000 1000 and above Technical Agencies Kobang Pahargurda Hathabari Banabira Kairbera Kesalpu Pakartanr Danargurda Kongseri Kinbira Taisera Maskera Paledih Tamara Kamtara Fifty State Technical Agencies (STAs), mainly National Institutes Biru Belkarcha Kulkera Dumardih Manesera Sarkhutoli Sikiriatar Chiksura Fulwatanga Sokari Tabhadih Ankara Arani of Technology and Government Engineering Colleges of Barkatangar Sogara Sewai Bandojore Kochedega EhuSabera Birkera Madhuban Khotitoli Hawatoli repute have been identified in consultation with the state Baghlatta Bangru Koliadamar Sunsewai Birkera Ghosara Bhawarpani Kudrum governments to advise and assist the Executing Agencies by Tilga Sarja Guida Bigari Pithara Kasaidohar Barabarpani Thailkobera scrutinizing the project proposals prepared by the state Tumdegi Chotabarpani Katukona Kharwagartha Bindhaitoli Belgar Jogbalrai Merumloya Barkichhapa Tina Muia governments, providing requisite technical support to the state governments, and undertaking training programmes. Million less Central Road Research Institute, New Delhi 0 1 2 4 6 8 The NRRDA has also identified seven Principal Technical Agencies (PTAs) to act as the Regional Coordinators of the Fig. 5.6 Core Network for the Above Block STAs as well as the extended arms of NRRDA in the pursuit of its objectives. The PTAs oversee the activities of the STAsAgency is primarily responsible for maintaining quality in the region, carry out random checks of the Detailed Projectthrough its executive engineers, at the district level, as well as Reports (DPRs) scrutinized by STAs, evaluate specificationsthrough an independent Quality Control Agency, whether and practices, develop course material for training programmes,departmental or otherwise, which is responsible to the officers and act as resource institutions. The PTAs are also to assistof the Executing Agency or the Nodal Department independent the NRRDA in quality audit of roads. The identified PTAsof the field engineers at the state level. are the Central Road Research Institute (CRRI), IIT, Mumbai, In addition, the NRRDA engages National Quality Department of Civil Engineering, University of Bangalore,Monitors (NQMs) to verify at random the quality of road IIT, Kharagpur, IIT Roorkee, Birla Institute of Technology,works. The reports of the NQMs are sent to the state Pilani, and National Institute of Technology, Warangal.government for necessary action. About 21,000 inspectionshave been carried out so far, out of which about 18,000 works Rural Roads Manualhave been found satisfactory. Any infringement/deficiency,detected by the NQMs, is rectified before the State Authorities The original manual, called Manual on Route Location,can make further payments. Design, Construction and Maintenance of Rural Roads was brought out by the Indian Roads Congress as a publication in 1979 (IRC: SP:20–1979). Following the launch of theOnline Management & Monitoring System PMGSY, the Ministry of Rural Development constitutedA web-based Online Management & Monitoring System three Committees in January 2001 to go into various aspects(OMMS) is being used for the PMGSY. The website can be of rural road construction and the manuals on these differentaccessed at www.omms.nic.in. A new website has also been aspects brought out by the committees were combined intodeveloped by the Rural Connectivity Division containing a separate ‘Rural Roads Manual’ and published as an IRCdetails of the PMGSY Schemes, Guidelines, Agencies involved, publication (IRC:SP: 20–2002) in supercession of the earlierrole and responsibilities, progress, and so on and can be manual (MORD 2004a and 2004b). This manual is nowaccessed at www.pmgsy.nic.in. the basis of all works under the PMGSY.Streamlined Administration and Accounting Standard Bidding DocumentsState Rural Roads Development Agencies (SRRDAs) have been To standardize the tendering process of the states, a Standardset up in all states with the task of functioning as the dedicated Bidding Document has been prepared which is used by allagency of the state nodal department for rural roads to ensure states for procurements of works under PMGSY.
114 India Infrastructure Report 2007Book of Specifications and Standard Data Book objectives, assessment was also made for the upgradation of the existing rural roads in all the states (Table A5.2).In order to streamline the process of estimating and to The target for connectivity/upgradation includes newstandardize contracts, a separate Book of Specifications and connectivity to about 60,000 habitations of 1000 plusStandard Data Book have been prepared for rural roads. State population, to 81,000 habitations of 500 plus population andgovernments have been advised to publish Annual Schedule to 29,000 habitations of 250 plus population. Total cost ofof Rates for rural roads based on these documents. new connectivity is about Rs 79,000 crore. Upgradation of about 370,000 km rural roads at a cost of Rs 53,000 crore isOperations Manual also planned. Thus, the total envisaged cost of the PMGSY is about Rs 132,000 crore.The NRRDA has prepared an Operations Manual which isutilized by all the Executing Agencies in the field in theimplementation of projects cleared under the PMGSY. This Achievements under PMGSY.is expected to provide clear and uniform guidelines to the Proposals under PMGSY prepared by the states are beingexecuting agencies in the states in regard to standards, cleared in different phases since 2001. The physical andspecifications, guidelines, and prioritization criteria. financial status and achievements so far under PMGSY are summarized in Table A5.3.Maintenance Management While completion of over 90,000 km of roads under the scheme may appear impressive as compared to the past recordHuge assets are being created as a result of construction of in the rural roads sector, actual achievements have fallennew roads and upgradation of existing roads in order to far short of the targets originally envisaged. The original goalprovide full farm-to-market connectivity. Guidelines provide set under the scheme was to provide connectivity to allfor the ways and means to ensure regular and systematic unconnected habitations with a population of 1000 or moremaintenance of the assets created under PMGSY. The state by 2003 and all unconnected habitations with a populationgovernments are expected to take steps to build up capacity of 500 and above by the end of the 10th Plan period (by yearin the District Panchayats and devolve funds and functionaries 2007). All habitations with a population of 250 or more inunto them to enable them to manage maintenance contracts the hill states, desert areas, and tribal areas were also targettedfor rural roads. to be covered by 2007. As against these programme targets All PMGSY roads (including associated main rural links/ originally set, the proposals cleared so far are expected tothrough routes of PMGSY link routes) are covered by 5-years provide connectivity to only 56,638 habitations. The statusmaintenance contracts entered into along with the of habitation coverage so far under this scheme has beenconstruction contract, with the same contractor, as per the indicated in Table 5.2.standard bidding document. Maintenance funds to service With only 15.8 per cent of habitations having been actuallythe contract are to be budgeted by the state government and connected so far, it is evident that the scheme would miss theplaced at the disposal of SRRDA in a separate maintenance 10th Plan target by a huge margin. Recognizing this slippageaccount. The states have also been advised to prepare the time frame for providing full connectivity to habitationscomprehensive maintenance management plans. with population above 1000 (above 500 in hill, desert and While these interventions have brought about some degree tribal areas) has been reset under Bharat Nirman.of professionalism in the programme management and fostereda culture of quality in the rural roads sector, the absorption Table 5.2capacity of the states as well contractors is still well below the Connectivity Status under PMGSY*levels required to achieve the targets set under Bharat Nirman. No. of habitationsAssessment of Targets No. of covered by No. of Population eligible projects habitationsAll states have been requested to prepare DRRPs as category habitations approved connectedcompendiums of all existing roads and those roads proposed 1000 and above 59,855 28,361 16,081for connecting the unconnected target habitations, starting 500–999 81,466 21,942 8602from Block Maps and identification of the Core Network Based on such maps which were prepared with full inventory, 250–499 31,451 6335 2620eligible habitations have been identified as per programme Total 172,772 56,638 27,303guidelines and the length required as well as the costs at Note: *June 2006.constant prices assessed (Table A5.1). In tune with the Source: Ministry of Rural Development.
Rural Roads 115PMGSY under Bharat Nirman The reasons for shortfall in targets as identified by the evaluation team included procedural impediments, new workAnnounced as a time bound business plan for augmenting practices that consumed more time, non availability of land,rural infrastructure, Bharat Nirman has rural roads as one of local panchayats not being taken into confidence, scarcity ofthe six components. The targets announced by the Finance skilled labourers, and prolonged monsoons in certain states. InMinister in his budget speech on 28 February 2005 seek to order to achieve targets the study suggested augmentationprovide all-weather connectivity to all habitations having of resources, provision of cash compensation for acquisitionpopulation of 1000 or more (500 or more in hill, tribal and of land, speedier identification of unconnected habitations,desert areas) by 2009. While the primary objective of PMGSY periodic updation of on-line information, realistic fixationhas been to provide ‘last mile connectivity’ to all eligible of upgradation target, complete involvement of Panchayatunconnected habitations, in order to ensure full farm-to- institutions, enhancement of time limit for completing projects,market connectivity Bharat Nirman also includes an adoption of centralized tendering system, meticulous projectupgradation component. It is estimated that under Bharat preparation, avoidance of multiple agencies, deployment ofNirman 66,802 habitations would be provided new exclusive staff for PMGSY, utilization local labour, efforts forconnectivity with a road length of 146,185 km. Besides, 194 lowering of construction costs and constitution of a state levelthousand km of existing through routes of the Core Network vigilance committee.would be upgraded/renewed. The total investment on rural In short, programme evaluation revealed that PMGSYconnectivity under Bharat Nirman has been estimated at Rs has succeeded in providing connectivity to most deserving48 thousand crore over 2005–9. The year wise targets for habitations, although the pace of implementation in some statesnew connectivity and upgradation have been detailed in Table is rather slow. The selection strategy was found to be okay andA5.4 and Table A5.5. quality was found to be generally good. PMGSY has improved the accessibility of beneficiary villagers and resulted in higherCritical Evaluation of PMGSY incomes. Notwithstanding the fact that there are certain measures required to be taken for meeting its objective, theEvaluation by Planning Commission critical evaluation complimented the efforts that have gone into and hoped for better performance in future.An evaluation was carried out by the Planning Commissionin the year 2005 to:1. assess the extent to which objectives of the programme Performance Audit by C&AG have been achieved; A performance audit of the programme was conducted by2. make a qualitative assessment of the physical and financial the Comptroller and Auditor General between January–June, performance of the programme; 2005, covering the period during 2000–5 (C&AG 2006).3. assess the impact of the programme on socio-economic The services of CRRI New Delhi were commissioned for conditions of the residents of villages provided with road technical inspection of more than fifty roads for assessing the connectivity under the programme; and quality of the roads constructed under PMGSY (MoRD 2004).4. identify the constraints in the implementation of the The audit also covered the effectiveness of operationalization programme and make suggestions to modify the same. and utility of OMMS and focused on the deficiencies, problems The study covered ten states in the country with fourteen of software, validation checks, security features, and lack ofdistricts selected for the micro level study. Physical performance utilization of OMMS for monitoring the programme.at the state level varied from as low as 28.77 per cent to well While the objective of the PMGSY at the time of its launchabove 92 per cent with an average of about 60 per cent was to provide connectivity to all 1000+ habitations, only(Planning Commission, 2005). Similarly the achievements about 24 per cent of the target set was achieved during thein the selected districts varied from 78 per cent to about 98 first five years of the programme. The database used at theper cent. In many cases the performance at district level was time of launch appears to be inadequate for setting the targetsfound to be generally above the state performance. The and also the guidelines were not firmed up properly. In theevaluation revealed that cost of construction per km varied absence of clarity in the guidelines, bias towards upgradationfrom state to state as well as among the districts. Financial was noticed in the project proposals of the first two phases.performance at the state level exhibited similar trends with The estimated fund requirement of Rs 58,200 crore wasfund utilization varying from 33.89 per cent to over 90 per also found to be unrealistic in the light of the fact that thecent in different states. revised estimate for achieving the same objective was found The evaluation study noted that the 3 Tier Quality Control to be more than Rs 130,000 crore. Adequate measures haveSystem prescribed by PMGSY yielded good results and the not been taken for the mobilization of funds, in tune with thequality of roads constructed was generally rated as Very Good. targets set, which can be seen from the fact that only Rs 12,290
116 India Infrastructure Report 2007crore were mobilized up to March 2005. Discrepancies in software including validation checks and after impartingnon-utilization of funds in some states revealed spends in effective training to the users; andpurposes beyond those specified in the guidelines. 4. It was ensured through focused monitoring that there were Efforts were not made to ensure integration of other no deviations from sanctioned specifications to preventrelated on-going schemes in securing programme objectives. sub standard quality of work.Abandoning of works sanctioned and incompleteness ofconnectivity came to light during the performance audit in Impact Assessment of PMGSY on Rural Economyalmost fourteen states. Completion was found to have overshot by large margins, Ministry of Rural Development commissioned a series oftime limits set in the guidelines, providing evidence of quick assessments of socio-economic impact of PMGSY ininadequate project management. The audit noticed poor Assam, Himachal Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, Mizoram,competition among tenderers in more than ten states. The Orissa, Rajasthan, Tamil Nadu, Uttar Pradesh, and Westabsorption capacities of states and PIUs were not adequately Bengal. These studies were conducted by independentunderstood for the implementation of the programme. The agencies during January to February, 2004 (MoRD 2004).performance audit also noticed certain deficiencies in the Major findings of these studies are as follows.quality monitoring mechanism and quality of the finalproduct. Even though OMMS is a step in the right direction, Impact on agricultureits utilization as a monitoring tool is not achieved and severaldeficiencies in the system management were noticed. Construction of the PMGSY roads has substantially benefitted Based on the deficiencies noticed in the evaluation process, farmers. Prior to the construction of the PMGSY roads,CAG made the following recommendations: farmers found it difficult to sell agricultural goods in bigger1. There is a need for firming up of targets on realistic database. markets located far away from their villages.2. The ministry should also firm up the targets on the basis PMGSY road connectivity has led to a better transport of funds that can be actually provided and utilized. systems during all seasons. Farmers mentioned that the3. The ministry in coordination with the state government problem of not being able to access the markets during should ensure that the guidelines are scrupulously followed. monsoon has been solved by the construction of roads. This4. States should be advised to support the project proposals impact has been greatly felt in the states of West Bengal, with correct and relevant documents proving the availability Himachal Pradesh, Mizoram, Assam and so on. of land free of all encumbrances. The PMGSY roads have made it easier to transport5. The states should be advised to take prompt action against agricultural inputs to villages which has led some farmers to the contractors in case of failure to honour to time or switch from food crops to cash crops (such as ginger, jute, quality commitments. sugarcane, sunflower).6. The independent quality assurance should be reinforced by An increase in the number of families rearing goats/sheep involving independent research and educational institutions. for commercial purposes was mentioned by beneficiaries in7. Ministry should issue detailed directives for greater attention the states of Rajasthan, Himachal Pradesh, and Uttar Pradesh. to project preparation and exercise periodical checks. Many families have bought cycles after the construction8. Ministry should persuade the states to make suitable of the road to be able to carry dairy products for sale to provisions for maintenance. nearby towns.9. All efforts must be made to correct the deficiencies in the OMMS to create an additional tool for monitoring and Employment generation management. Audit examination revealed that the performance of the After the construction of PMGSY roads, an improvementprogramme could have improved if in the employment situation in terms of more job opportunities,1. The magnitude of the programme and the capacity of the avenues for self-employment, and so on were observed. On- states had been assessed realistically, funds of the required farm employment opportunities also increased due to shift magnitude provided and frequent revision of guidelines from grains to cash crops and also multiple cropping and the data on unconnected eligible habitations to be particularly in the state of Tamil Nadu, Madhya Pradesh, covered under the programme avoided; and Mizoram.2. The DRRP and the CN were complete and based on More people are going to nearby towns and villages for reliable data; odd jobs like selling woods, vegetables, dairy products and locally3. OMMS were introduced promptly along with the made items like pickles, papad and so on due to expansion programme after ensuring and obtaining satisfactory proof of local industries, which in turn has generated employment of the reliability of all the features and facilities in the opportunities.
Rural Roads 117Cottage industry Transport servicesBeneficiaries reported that the pottery and brick making The benefits of rural connectivity have been felt most keenly inindustry of Orissa has benefited from the PMGSY roads. Mizoram and Rajasthan where PMGSY roads have made itCottage industries of Tamil Nadu, Handloom industry of easier for the beneficiaries to cope with the difficult terrain.West Bengal, and agro industry in Assam also benefitted from There has been an increase in ownership of bicycles and tworoad connectivity. wheelers especially in the states of Assam, Rajasthan, West Bengal, and Tamil Nadu. Also, there has been an improvement in the public as well as the private transport systems in all the states.HealthThere has been an overall improvement in access to healthfacilities like PHCs, sub-centres, and district hospitals in the Quality of lifestates of West Bengal, Uttar Pradesh, Orissa, Tamil Nadu, An immediate and direct impact of providing rural roadHimachal Pradesh, and Madhya Pradesh. Positive impact was connectivity was observed in the quality of life as cookingobserved on accessibility to preventive and curative health care gas became available in villages. The states of Mizoram, Tamilfacilities; better management of infectious diseases, and Nadu, West Bengal reported conversion of kuchcha housesattending to emergencies and increase in frequency of visits to pucca houses. The connectivity led to sudden escalationby health workers. of prices of land adjacent to the PMGSY roads. This also led Improvement in antenatal and post-natal care was observed to an increase in the sale of land for commercial purposes.by beneficiaries, thereby decreasing obstetrics emergencies,in the states of Mizoram, Madhya Pradesh, Orissa, Tamil Nadu,Uttar Pradesh, and West Bengal. Road connectivity and an Poverty alleviationimproved transport system enabled families to opt for The roads, directly or indirectly have provided opportunitiesinstitutional deliveries in hospitals outside the village. for on-farm and off—farm employments as well as self-Decrease in infant and child mortality especially in the states employment. With the improvement in on-farm and non-farmof Orissa, Madhya Pradesh, Himachal Pradesh, Tamil Nadu, employment opportunities, beneficiaries in all the statesUttar Pradesh, and West Bengal was reported. reported increase in their average household income, thus, reduction in poverty.EducationWith the construction of PMGSY roads, there has been Distributional and equity issuesan improvement in the accessibility to education facilities. Though it has been revealed through several impact studiesThis has resulted in increased school enrolment and school that rural roads have multi–dimensional beneficial impactsattendance in all the states, especially, in the number of on the rural community, these benefits may not be equitablygirls going to schools in Assam, Madhya Pradesh, Orissa, distributed. Well-off households with better resourceTamil Nadu, and West Bengal. Most parents mentioned endowments, capabilities, and skill sets generally derive morethat they were now more confident about sending their benefits from the improved access as compared to poordaughters to schools unescorted. Moreover, regular attendance households. This calls for prior indepth analysis of the potentialof the teachers throughout the year is observed and input from the major stakeholders with a view to devisinggreater willingness is evident among parents to send appropriate mitigation measures to make this scheme ‘inclusive’boys and girls for higher studies and college education outside in terms of its benefits.their villages. Though rural roads provide accessibility, the assurance on transport availability and affordability must be looked into.Governance and public services For instance, a rural road serving as a means of transportation may permit people to use their own mode of transport, butThe road connectivity has increased the frequency of visits unless public or intermediate public transportation is available,by government officials and grass root level functionaries like the benefit of the rural road will not reach all. Further, evenhealth workers/Auxilliary Nurse and Midwives (ANMs), when public transport service is available, the affordabilityVillage Level Workers (VLWs) and Village Anganwadi Worker to use the services may once again put the very poor at(VAWs) in Orissa, Himachal Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, and a disadvantage.West Bengal. There has been an improvement in accessibility In short, roads are clearly a critically enabling conditionto banks, the Post and Telegraph offices, and quicker access for improvement of living conditions and quality of life into the police. rural areas. Distribution of economic benefits can now be
118 India Infrastructure Report 2007ensured to all sections through the creation of complementary meticulous field investigations; it is also equally importantactivities for broadening livelihood opportunities to to adopt the ‘optimal’ technology for construction.economically weak sections of the rural society. Under PMGSY, executing agencies are required to prepare DPRs, which are then scrutinized and vetted by the designated STAs (reputed engineering colleges). While this institutionalCost Trends under PMGSY development in project planning and preparation is a markedCost of road construction is mainly determined by the type improvement over the previous practice, approving projectsof terrain, soil condition, projected traffic, availability of on the basis of ‘line-estimates’, the extent to which it hasconstruction materials, rainfall, and other environmental succeeded in ‘optimizing’ the cost of construction is yet to befactors. As such, cost of construction under PMGSY varies investigated in detail. Currently, cost varies from Rs 15–16widely across states and even within a state and across districts. lakh per unit length to as high as Rs 45–50 lakh per unitCost of construction also depends on the choice of technology length in different states (Table A5.6). Probable reasons forused and labour–machine mix. cost variation include topography of the local area, distance In a labour-surplus economy like India, it is, therefore, from the availability of construction material, earthworknot only necessary to design the rural roads on the basis of required and so on (Box 5.2). Box 5.2 Why Cost varies across Regions A typical rural road consists of compacted sub-grade, granular sub-base, base-course with graded aggregate and thin bituminous surface course in the form of pre-mix concrete with a seal coat. In order to ensure the serviceability of the road through out the year with safety, necessary cross drainage (CD) structures, side drains, road signs, and other road furniture should be an integral part of the rural road. The detailed analysis of cost variation of rural roads was carried out at IIT, Roorkee covering 480 roads in 50 districts of Bihar, Uttaranchal, and Uttar Pradesh. The analysis decomposed the cost of construction into cost towards site clearance, retaining walls, CD structures, earthwork, sub-base, base-course, and surface course. The average cost of different components per km of the sample analysed is presented in the table below. Table B5.2.1 Average Cost Variation of Rural Roads in Bihar, UP, and Uttaranchal Cost per km of (in Rs lakh) No. Av. Transp- Name of Avg. No. Dist. of ortation of the roads of CD Const- Site Retaining CD Earth quarry Cost/ State analyzed structure ruction clearing wall structure work Sub-base Base Surface (km) km Bihar 44 3 20.7 .06 0 1.05 1.83 5.56 7.97 3.79 108 7.61 U.P. 382 3 19.2 .04 0.01 1.34 1.90 6.71 5.84 2.86 145 6.02 Uttaranchal 54 8 26.6 2.47 2.76 3.54 1.59 4.77 6.01 3.88 37 4.76 The analysis clearly brought out that: 1. Total cost of construction is 33 per cent higher in hill areas than in plain areas. 2. On an average, the number of cross drainage structures required per km of road in plain area is 3, whereas in the hilly region this requirement is 8. This explains the higher cost of CD works in Uttaranchal (Rs 6.3 lakh) as compared to the cost of these works in Bihar and Uttar Pradesh (Rs 1.05 lakh and Rs 1.35 lakh respectively) 3. The cost of site clearance is a significant component of the total cost in hilly areas (Rs 2.47 lakh in Uttaranchal), whereas it is negligible in plain areas (Rs 4000–6000 per km in Bihar and Uttar Pradesh). 4. The haulage cost for bringing construction material is more in the state of Bihar (Rs 7.61 lakh) followed by Uttar Pradesh (Rs 6.02 lakh) compared to Uttaranchal (Rs 4.76 lakh). This explains higher cost of construction in Bihar as compared to Uttar Pradesh even though the regional and climatic conditions are similar. The analysis also revealed that even within a state, cost variation can be significant across the districts owing to the site specific conditions. The findings of the study warrant greater attention to detailed site investigations and technology option study at the time of preparing of DPR.
Rural Roads 119ALTERNATIVES TO REDUCE COST OF A major constraint in the use of local material lies in theRURAL ROAD CONSTRUCTION procedures adopted by the field agencies and lack of awareness and exposure. It is possible to popularize the use of stabilizationModeration of Geometric Standards techniques through appropriate training and capacity building of the field engineers. The reluctance of the field agencies toBased on the recommendations of NRRDC, the widths of deviate from the conventional methods and to try out innovativeformation and pavement have been fixed at 7.5 m and 3.75 technologies also calls for attitudinal changes through HRDm respectively, though, the Rural Roads Manual permit 6 m interventions.and 3 m roadway and carriageway when the expected traffic In addition to the stabilization techniques, there is a largeis 100 motorized vehicles. However, most states are adopting array of technologies to promote the use of industrial waste/the higher widths, regardless of the traffic volume, resulting by products in road building. Use of the industrial wastein higher cost of construction. Therefore, it is necessary to materials—fly ash, steel and copper slag, and marble dust—estimate the base year traffic realistically for adopting lower has already been field tested (Box 5.3).geometrics to reduce the cost. Association of American State In addition, techniques suitable for conditions of lowHighway and Transport Officials (AASHTO), USA has suggested bearing capacity soils, marshy lands, location with drainagelower geometric standards for very low volume roads. problems are also available. Research studies indicate that natural geo-textiles such as coir have huge potential forNeed-based Stage Construction application on rural roads in areas where subgrade is of poor quality. Based on the experiences of the use of Jute Geo TextilesUnder PMGSY, all roads are built with full provisions including (JGT), Ministry of Rural Development in collaboration withthe base and surface courses at one go. However, in many parts Jute Manufactures Development Council is implementing aof the country on the new roads, connecting the habitations of pilot project to test the efficacy and cost-effectiveness oflower population by link roads, the traffic expected definitely different types of JGT under different soil and environmentalis less and a good gravel surfaced road with necessary drainage conditions (Box 5.4).and protection systems in place can serve the rural population Similar experimentation through pilot project for the othereffectively. As and when the traffic builds up over time the roads technologies will be tried in the construction of rural roads undercan be strengthened through the provision of base and surface PMGSY, so as to enable standardization and popularization ofcourses. This results in almost 40 per cent cost reduction in cost effective solutions.the initial stage, enabling larger coverage in a given budget. Recently, a number of environment friendly enzymes have However, keeping in view the difficulties in the come into the markets such as fuzibeton, terrazyme, andmaintenance of gravel roads as well as the dust problem, efforts earthzyme which are expected to provide excellent ridingshould be made to develop appropriate sealing techniques surfaces when mixed with in-situ or suitable borrowed soil.for the gravel surfaces borrowing experiences from abroad as This technology is designed to eliminate the use of aggregates.well as R&D efforts in our country. As such, these materials can also be tried out in the rural roads construction once their efficacy is proved in the local conditions through pilot projects.Use of Locally Available Material Some field studies have shown that life cycle cost of cementThe situation in many states indicates non-availability of concrete roads under certain circumstances would be muchmaterials of requisite standards in nearby areas. Material haulage less than conventional bituminous construction. This mayis resulting in very high cost. If the available technologies are be due to avoidance of huge routine maintenance and periodicalexploited, it is possible to reduce the cost of long haulages by maintenance costs in the conventional construction. Cost-utilizing locally available materials, including the marginal effectiveness of cement concrete roads in rural areas should,aggregates and industrial waste material. therefore, be field-tested for life-cycle cost through a pilot One of the proven technologies for the use of local soil project under PMGSY.and marginal aggregates is stabilization. The stabilization processcould be mechanical or chemical. Several types of stabilizing MAINTENANCE OF RURAL ROADSagents have proved to suit different conditions of soil andenvironment. Noteworthy among them are stabilization with Rural roads need to be maintained at a minimum level oflime or cement or a combination of lime and cement. In acceptable serviceability. Lack of adequate and timelyaddition to these standard technologies, other types of maintenance is bound to accelerate the process of deteriorationtechnologies which are also being tried include the use of of the roads, which in turn results in loss of time, agriculturerice husk ash, phosphogypsum, and sodium chloride. output, access, and eventually the asset itself. Further,
120 India Infrastructure Report 2007 Box 5.3 Use of locally available materials Anil Kumar Sagar FLY ASH FOR ROAD CONSTRUCTION WORKS Coal is the most easily available fuel for power generation in India. Huge quantities of fly ash are produced as waste by-product of coal combustion. The present annual generation of fly ash is estimated to be about 140 million tonnes. The physical and chemical properties of fly ash depend upon the type of coal, its grinding and combustion techniques, collection, and disposal systems. Fly ash reacts with lime in presence of moisture to form cementitious compounds. This is known as pozzolanic activity. The pozzolanic property of fly ash enables it to be used as an alternate binder in place of cement. While coarser fly ash can be used as fill material, the finer ash can be used for replacement of sand and cement in road construction works. Use of fly ash for rural road work has been covered in IRC:SP:20 2002 and Rural Road Manual (MoRD, 2004b and Vittal, 2000). Sub-base course can be constructed using pond ash or bottom ash replacing conventionally used moorum. Laboratory and field studies conducted in India and abroad have established that fly ash can be adopted for stabilization of sub-base/base. Fly ashes are cohesionless materials, and therefore non-plastic in nature while soil particles are generally cohesive. Mixing of soil and ash in suitable proportions improves the gradation and plasticity characteristics of the mix, thereby improving the strength. Addition of small amounts of lime greatly improves the strength characteristics of fly ash stabilized layers. 3 to 5 per cent of lime is used depending upon the quality of lime. The use of stabilized fly ash sub-base/base courses would be particularly attractive in locations where fly ash is easily available and supply of aggregate is expensive. The proportion 1:2:9 of lime, fly ash and moorum or sand has been found to provide the best performance. Fly ash can be utilized for constructing semi-rigid pavements in the form of lime-fly ash concrete, dry lean fly ash concrete. Pavements constructed using these mixes possess higher flexural strength than flexible pavements and hence they are classified as semi- rigid pavements. Fly ash can be used for construction of rigid pavements also by using cement-fly ash concrete, high performance concrete, roller compacted concrete and so on. Fly ash can be used in place of soil to construct road embankments. Typically in developed urban and industrial areas, natural borrow sources are scarce, and as a result borrow soil is very expensive. Environmental degradation caused due to use of top soil for embankment construction is also very high. Fly ash can provide an economical and suitable alternative material to earth for construction of embankments. Coal ash can be used for construction of embankments of rural road projects near thermal power plants. The notification issued by Ministry of Environment and Forests, Government of India dated August 27, 2003 has made usage of coal ash compulsory in all projects being undertaken within 100 km radius of the thermal power plant. The notification states that, ‘No agency, person or organisation shall, within a radius of 100 km of a thermal power plant undertake construction or approve design for construction of roads or flyover embankments in contravention of the guidelines/specifications issued by the Indian Road Congress (IRC) as contained in the specification No. SP:58 of 2001’ (Kumar et al. 2005). Various demonstration projects involving use of fly ash have been undertaken. One such project was the construction of Salarpur– Dadupur rural link road using fly ash. The project was taken up by the CRRI in collaboration with NTPC Ltd under the Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA) initiative. The site is situated at a distance of 5 km from National Capital Power Station (NCPS), Dadri in U.P. Salarpur and Dadupur villages are part of a same panchayat and have a combined population of about 2000 persons. The length of the Salarpur-Dadupur link road is about 1.4 km. In this project bottom ash was used as embankment fill material and fly ash collected in dry form was used for stabilization and as admixture in roller compacted concrete. The embankment was constructed using bottom ash as core material with soil cover of 30 cm thickness. Fly ash stabilized using cement (8 per cent cement and 92 per cent fly ash) was used for laying base course (compacted thickness of 10 cm). Fly ash and cement were mixed in a concrete mixer and water required to bring moisture content to Optimum Moisture Content (OMC) was added during mixing. The mix was manually laid to conform to grade and camber. Compaction was carried out using static roller. The stabilised layer was cured for seven days by sprinkling water at frequent intervals before placing the subsequent layer. A total quantity of about 5000 tonnes of ash was used for both fill and pavement works in this project. Keeping in view the fact that the link road is located in a remote area and only light traffic is expected to ply on the road, the pavement is providing satisfactory service. The construction work was taken up in March 2002 and completed in about 60 days. The total construction cost of the road was Rs 13.51 lakh. Since disposal of fly ash is a problem for thermal power plants, it has also been argued that fly ash be provided at a negative cost to the TPP. In such cases, fly ash is provided free of cost to the road manufacturer and the cost of transportation of fly ash to the site is borne by the thermal power plant. IRON AND STEEL SLAG FOR ROAD CONSTRUCTION Steel making is a strategic requirement of the economy of developing nation like India. Many steel plants have been set up in our country. However, production of iron and steel is associated with the generation of waste materials like slag. Normally, production of
Rural Roads 121one tonne of steel results in generation of one tonne of solid waste. Big steel plants in India generate about 29 million tonnes of wastematerial annually. In addition, there are several medium and small plants all over the country. Slag reduces the porosity and permeabilityof soil, thus increasing the water logging problem. It causes respiratory ailment among nearby residents, contaminates ground water,and adversely affects the landscape of the area. Slag can be used as pavement material in a variety of forms. It can be used as a base orsub-base material either in bound or unbound condition. It meets all the requirements set forth by the MoRTH. As per IRC:37–2001,Rs 5 lakh per km can be saved by using slag as road material (Kumar et al. 2002). It is evident that steel plant by-products, either as such or in suitable combination, can be used in sub-base or base course layer ofa road pavement. In order to compare the structural performance of these materials test sections were constructed using slags atRourkela in 1996–7. Post construction performance monitoring showed that the test sections are comparable to control sectionsconstructed using conventional materials.MARBLE DUSTWidely found in Rajasthan, it is a waste material of marble industry. It has been shown that the California Bearing Ratio (CBR) of thesub-soil may be increased by upto 40 per cent to 50 per cent by mixing 15 per cent to 25 per cent of marble dust depending upon thenature of soil. Thus the cost of construction may be reduced considerably.PHOSPHOGYPSUMIt is a by-product of phosphoric acid based fertilizer plants. It can be used to stabilize black cotton soils as it reduces the shrinkage and swellingof black cotton soil. The fertilizer plant of Indogulf Corporation located at Dalhej, Gujarat has demonstrated usage of this technology. Thecost of road after phosphogypsum stabilization is about 25 per cent less than the normal construction cost (Misra et al. 2004).MUNICIPAL WASTES IN ROAD CONSTRUCTIONIt is estimated that the average daily refuse generation in a metropolitan city like Delhi is approximately about 4000 tonnes. Disposalof this large quantity of wastes need careful planning. Presently, municipal corporations dispose these solid wastes mainly throughsanitary land fill method and composting. While organic wastes are used for composting to yield manure, inorganic wastes are difficultto dispose. Under the aegis of Ministry of Environment and Forests, a project was taken up at CRRI to use inorganic part of the processedwastes in road construction. A small length of the road in north Delhi was identified for construction as test section. Soil samples werecollected from subgrade and borrow areas to study their strength and geotechnical characteristics in order to design suitable pavementcross sections using inorganic part of the municipal wastes in appropriate layers of the proposed test section. The processed waste notbeing a suitable material in itself, additives like local soil, cement, lime, fly ash were used in different proportions in sub-base/basecourse construction. Pavement specifications were developed for construction of test section at the identified site. The constructionwork was completed satisfactorily in May 1996. Waste plastic has also been used in the construction of rural roads. A pilot road namely Saint Tirisulam road at Saint ThomasMount Panchayat Union in Kancheepuram district, Tamil Nadu was laid by the joint effort of Government of Tamil Nadu andGovernment of India. The technical support was provided by CRRI, IIT Chennai, and Theyagarajar College, Madurai. The road waslaid using waste plastic mixed bituminous mix. This road had better resistance to raveling and offered more resistance to stripping andformation of pot holes. The aggregates coated with plastics and binders presented better resistance to water.USE OF DHANDLA IN CENTRAL RAJASTHANDue to non-availability of hard stone within economical distances in desert areas, particularly in Central Rajasthan, road constructionhas been posing serious problems, especially in rural areas. It is a common observation in desert areas that on account of the non-cohesive nature of desert sand sub-grade, the sub-base material has the tendency to sink into the subgrade resulting in deformationsof various shapes and sizes. These deformations are subsequently reflected in the road surface causing either immobility or hamperingthe vehicular traffic. It is, therefore, considered an essential pre-requisite to provide adequate support to the pavement for betterperformance. This could be achieved either by stabilizing the desert sand sub grade with additives or by providing additionalthickness in the sub-base. Such treatments would result in increased cost of road construction. The Central and Western parts ofRajasthan have, at present, quite thin density of population where the rate of growth in the volume of traffic on rural roads is notexpected to rise at a fast rate in the near future. It is quite imperative, therefore, to utilize the locally available road materials to themaximum possible extent. A calcareous material locally known as ‘Dhandla’ is found in abundance under an overburden of 1.5 to 2.5 metres. Dhandla, beingquite soft, gets completely crushed under the road roller. It has been found that the bearing capacity of Dhandla was considerablyimproved when compacted manually and could be effectively used in the lower layer of low-volume roads. Test tracks have been laidusing Dhandla. It is seen that substantial economy can be achieved by using this low grade material for road construction.
122 India Infrastructure Report 2007 Box 5.4 Pilot Project on Application of Jute Geo-Textile in Rural Roads Jute Geo-Textile (JGT) is a natural technical textile laid in or on soil to improve its engineering properties. JGT is made out of yarn obtained from the jute plant. It has high moisture absorption capacity, excellent drapability, and high initial tensile strength. It is environment friendly, biodegradable, easily available, and economical. Use of JGT leads to natural consolidation of sub-grade soil and has a potential to enhance the CBR value of the sub-grade by 1.5 to 3 times. Use of JGT dates back to as early as in 1920s when it was tried in some sections of a road at Dundee in Scotland. It was also used in a major road in Calcutta by the British in 1934. The NRRDA has taken up a pilot project in collaboration with the Jute Manufacturers Development Council (JMDC) to demonstrate the potential benefits of the use of JGT in construction of rural roads. This pilot project aims at standardization of different types of JGT. Under the pilot project, ten roads have been selected in Assam, Chhattisgarh, Madhya Pradesh, and Orissa covering a length of 47.84 km (Table B5.4.1). Central Road Research Institute has been engaged as a technical consultant for this project for project preparation, quality control, monitoring, and performance evaluation. Table B5.4.1 Details of Jute Geo-Textile Pilot Projects State Name of the Road Road Conventional Cost with Length Cost JGT (km) (Rs lakh) (Rs lakh) Orissa Jaipur-Mahananagal 5.50 289 246 Orissa MDR14 to Chatumary 4.00 183 162 Madhya Pradesh Berasia to Semrakalan Approach road 5.10 141 140 Madhya Pradesh Ghelawan village to PMGSY Road 3.14 89.5 74 Chhattisgarh Kodavabani to Khursi 4.80 173 159 Chhattisgarh Khairjhiti to Ghirghoisa Road 5.50 189 171 West Bengal Notuk to Dingal 4.80 243 188 West Bengal Nandanpur to Marokhana High School 6.20 321 303 Assam Rampur Satra to Dumdumla 4.20 190 157 Assam UT Road to Jarabari/Barnagaon 4.60 205 193 Total Cost 47.84 2023 1783 Average Cost/km 42 37 The detailed projects reports indicate that use of JGT would reduce the total cost of construction by Rs 2.40 crore and the average cost by Rs 5 lakh per km. All the projects are now in progress. CRRI would monitor performance of the roads upto 18 months after completion of each road. Source: National Rural Roads Development Agency.rehabilitation cost is high with increase in the vehicle operating universal phenomenon, it is time this issue of sustainable ruralcosts. In case of loss of asset there may be isolation. roads maintenance is taken seriously. Regular maintenance of rural roads is a critical pre- The maintenance strategies adopted in PMGSY requirecondition for sustaining the positive impacts that roads bring that the maintenance cost be borne by the respective stateto rural communities. Routine minor maintenance is often governments. This strategy assures maintenance of the roadneglected not only because of lack of funds, but also because in the initial five years of construction. The problem ofthere is little political capital, or mileage in maintaining roads maintenance beyond that is still unresolved. The concept ofregularly as the outcome is not highly visible. Instead, politicians projectized maintenance cost may be thought of and the optionsprefer to authorize major rehabilitation or reconstruction of mobilizing funds for maintenance need to be studied, inafter the road has deteriorated considerably. Though this is a order to keep up the sustainability of the rural roads.
Rural Roads 123 Strategies adopted in different countries enable us to to about Rs 80,000 per year (at current prices). As such, theidentify the main requirements for ensuring sustainable rural annual requirement per km of the rural roads maintenanceroads maintenance as summarized below: covering routine and periodic maintenance is Rs 1 lakh per1. Policy decision on maintenance and commitment of the km per year. Based on the length of the rural roads, particularly government for the preservation of rural road assets of the CN, estimation of fund requirement can be worked deviating from the bias towards new construction. There out for budgeting purposes. However, with the availability is an urgent need to projectize the cost of maintenance at of full or partial budget, the maintenance strategy that may the time of planning the new construction itself, in order be adopted is presented below. to achieve sustainability.2. Development of Technical Standards for design and Organizational Shortcomings construction along with a streamlined Quality Assurance System as these have a bearing on subsequent As multiple agencies are involved in the construction and maintenance. maintenance of rural roads, there is dilution of responsibility3. Adopting suitable Maintenance Management System for and lack of accountability for maintenance. Further, there planning, implementation for optimal use of constrained is virtual absence of an institutionalized mechanism for resources, with clear policy of prioritization and supported inventorization and pavement condition survey. There is no by well-defined documentation of database. planning and management system for rural roads for4. Institutional arrangements with clearly identified functions identification and prioritization of the required maintenance and functionaries. interventions.5. A dependable funding mechanism for maintenance. The Panchayati Raj Institutions (PRIs), particularly the6. Capacity building for the institutions as well as contractors District Panchayats are expected to ultimately take over the with necessary training for improvement of technical skills responsibility of rural roads, particularly for maintenance. and adoption of innovative methods of executing the However, in most states, hardly any progress is noticeable maintenance operations, in tune with the present day with regard to transfer of funds, functions, and functionaries technology. to the District Panchayats. As a result, it has not so far been7. Involvement of local governments and community at the possible to put in place a decentralized community participation appropriate levels for undertaking maintenance of rural mechanism to ensure proper upkeep and maintenance of roads with a systematically designed awareness programme rural roads. bringing out the consequences of inadequate and deferred Currently, the work of maintenance is being undertaken maintenance. both departmentally and through contractors. However, a8. Need based Research and Development (R&D) efforts. very large percentage of the available funds is spent on salaries and wages leaving grossly insufficient amounts for non-wage maintenance components. Though financial audit of publicEstimation of Fund Requirements for Maintenance expenditure on maintenance is undertaken by the C&AGAnnual routine maintenance for rural roads is estimated to in the states, there is no formal arrangement in place forbe around Rs 20,000 per km/year on an average and periodic technical audit processes to enhance focus on assetrenewal may cost about Rs 4 lakh for a 5 year cycle amounting management. As a large part of rural roads network is with the state governments and ultimately maintenance of PMGSY roads would also rest with state governments, there is a need Table 5.3 to reevaluate and relook at the maintenance of rural road Alternate Maintenance Strategies for Rural Roads network (Box 5.5).Budget Maintenance StrategyFull Requirement Carry out full length Routine Maintenance/ ROLE OF PANCHAYATI RAJ INSTITUTIONS Renewals in rural Core Network (CN). Keeping in view the Indian conditions a decentralized50% of Full Carry out Routine Maintenance over full maintenance model has been suggested by Sikdar (2006) (BoxRequirement length of rural CN. Carry out Renewals of 5.6). This model defines the extent of responsibility at each rural Through Routes. level, suggests how exactly each level would carry out its25% of Full Carry out only Routine Maintenance for mandated responsibilities and what kind of technical,Requirement full length of rural CN. financial, and organizational support would be required forLess than 25% of Carry out routine maintenance of Rural building the capacity at each level. The model needs to beFull Requirement Through Routes in CN as per piloted to evolve a workable system of decentralized prioritization based on PCI and AADT maintenance of rural roads through the empowerment of the
124 India Infrastructure Report 2007 Box 5.5 Relook at Maintenance of Rural Roads Anil Kumar Sagar MAINTENANCE STRATEGY The basic elements of the strategy based on the maintenance needs are as follows: Road Vision The state governments should formulate a long term vision covering all aspects of maintenance, the funds available through PMGSY and other poverty alleviation and employment generation programmes. Norms for Maintenance A study should be undertaken to determine the quantum of funds required for maintenance works. This would include routine and periodic maintenance for earth, WBM, black-top roads in different traffic, and climatic conditions prevailing in various states. Minimum essential requirements and those considered desirable for better level of service should be spelt out including allowances for emergency works and special repairs. Not all roads are maintainable. It is necessary to identify the maintainable part of the road network and preserve the assets by setting up an appropriate maintenance regime. Maintainable roads may be defined as ‘all roads with drainage and gravel surface that are in a reasonable condition, so that routine maintenance is possible without need for extensive rehabilitation.’ Fund Allocation A dedicated fund for maintenance of roads like the one in Uttar Pradesh needs to be set up in all states. The state governments should realize that a decision to construct a road implies that it will be maintained subsequently. The source of these funds could be cess on petrol and diesel, additional cess on agricultural produce, additional royalty on mining and quarries, road maintenance fee in the form of annual road tax on vehicles, and surcharge on insurance premium for vehicles. The fund should be managed in a transparent manner and systems and procedures need to be established to ensure accountability. Core Network The State PWDs should identify the core roads for each district. It would be appropriate to give priority of maintenance to roads in the core network. The states should formulate a five year plan for removing the basic deficiencies in the core road network in the first instance and other roads subsequently. Improved Monitoring A system of performance evaluation should be introduced. Some of the performance indicators that can be considered for the purpose are percentage of maintenance expenditure to required expenditure as per norms, percentage of core road network actually subjected to periodic maintenance, and percentage of core road network in poor condition. A few African countries which had set up dedicated road funds for maintenance are regularly monitoring improvements in road condition. Performance audits should relate financial flows and physical performance indicators to the condition of roads. Creation of Maintenance Management System A simple but rational maintenance management system for rural roads should be developed. The system should help in providing network condition, road inventory, and need based priorities based on deterioration prediction models, annual maintenance plans for a given budget, multi year road work programming, and impact on deterioration of roads for which funds are not allocated. A survey should be conducted to establish a pavement condition index (PCI) of village roads as a tool for prioritization. A further sub-prioritisation needs to be done on the basis of annual average daily traffic (AADT). For roads that cannot be maintained, a systematic approach to appraisal is needed to determine whether they should be rehabilitated or upgraded. Such an approach should take account of the life cycle costs of the road, its function and benefits and availability of resources. Ensuring quality One of the factors leading to high levels of maintenance is lack of compaction of earthwork, sub-base and base courses, and poor attention to drainage works during construction of rural roads. Low crust thickness in some cases also contributes to early deterioration. Review gang labour system In some countries, a system of mobile gangs and reorganization of maintenance operations for improved efficiency of the existing gangs either as a patrol gang system or area wide system has been introduced. A strategy for redeployment of existing gang labour into labour cooperatives and outsourcing of maintenance work to medium and small contractors need to be looked into.
Rural Roads 125Responsibility of PRIsPRIs could be made responsible for maintenance of some non-core village roads and gang labour transferred to them. Some functions,functionaries and funds (3 Fs) need to be transferred to PRIs. Experience of road maintenance in some of the South Americancountries where such strategies have been successful can serve as reference. A summary of contracting the work of routine maintenanceto community based micro enterprises in Peru is given in the following section.DrainageProvision of adequate drainage is a critical requirement. A drainage audit must be undertaken for all existing rural roads and deficienciesin this respect removed in a time bound manner. Initial design for new roads should take into account such requirements in any case.Maintenance of WBM roadsA good length of rural roads has Water Bound Macadam (WBM) surface. Their maintenance is a major problem. Generally, theseroads deteriorate very fast under the traffic and often develop poor riding surface. A thin gravel surfacing is found to be effective inAndhra Pradesh for the repair of these roads.Financing of Road MaintenanceSome states have created a State Road Fund that is used for maintenance of roads. A part of this fund is also used for maintenance ofrural roads. Such funds are also used in African countries like Ghana and Zambia. However, the criteria for utilization of these fundsare not very clear. There is a need to support the management committee of the fund by a lean but strong professional cell for effectiveadministration of the fund and strengthening the operation process and putting in place scientific principles of prioritization ofmaintenance treatments based on regular condition survey of roads. The current system of monitoring of physical and financial targetsdoes not give a clue to the improvements achieved in condition of roads. Despite the creation of a dedicated fund for road maintenance,the amounts available for maintenance from all sources continue to be inadequate. There is a shortfall of over 60 per cent in availabilityof funds compared to needs. Practically, no funds are allocated for maintenance of roads constructed by departments other than thestate PWD. A detailed estimate of funds required for maintenance of rural roads on realistic basis is needed with clear break up forroutine and periodic maintenance for earth, water-bound macadam, black-top roads in different traffic and climatic conditions prevailingin different parts of the country. The norms should consider the frequency of various maintenance tasks required. Minimum essentialrequirements and those considered desirable for better level of service should be spelt out including allowance for emergency worksand special repairs. To begin with the MoRTH report on norms for maintenance can serve as a starting point (MoRTH 2000).Renewal Cycle for Rural Road MaintenanceA disturbing feature in the maintenance policy laid down by the state governments relates to the renewal cycle provided for rural roads.In UP, a period of 8 year cycle has been indicated for rural roads. Technically, it is well known that not only traffic but also environmentplays a key role in the life of the top wearing coat with bituminous binder (because of oxidation effect of bitumen) and that is why, theRoad Maintenance Manual of UP provides for a renewal cycle of 4 years. The inadequacy of funds alone does not appear to be a soundlogic in giving a go by to the norms laid down as a result of experience and experimentation on the ground (Gupta 2003). The expertcommittee set up under the chairmanship of the Director General (Road Development) and Special Secretary to the Government ofIndia recommended norms for maintenance which are as follows: Table B5.5.1 Maintenance Norms for Rural RoadsCategory SD-I PC MSS SDBC MR-Iof Roads Traffic Group Rainfall SD-II 20mm 20mm 25mmODR/VR 150–450 Less than 3000 mm 5 5(Plains) More than 3000 mm 4 4 0–150 Less than 3000 mm 5 5 5 More than 3000 mm 4 4 4SD = Surface Dressing; PC=Premix Carpet; MSS=Mix Seal Surface; SDBC=Semi-Dense Bituminous Carpet; MR=Metal Renewal.Source: (MoRTH 2000).The cycle recommended by the Expert Committee of the MoRTH is ideal and could be the target to be achieved at least in respect ofthe core rural roads network.
126 India Infrastructure Report 2007 In absence of a proper road inventory and condition survey, it is not possible to make a precise estimate of the maintenance funds required annually in respect of rural roads. There is no organized data base for roads—inventory, condition, and traffic counts which can help in formulation of need based maintenance plan. The budget grants for maintenance are usually distributed in a lump sum manner assigned to road length. Only financial monitoring of expenditure against allotment is carried out. Maintenance works are not subject to strict budgetary discipline. The system of performance budget whereby details of physical achievements against prespecified targets (activity and work-wise) does not exist in many states. Maharashtra has developed suitable formats for performance budgeting and can serve as a good reference. Rural Road Co-operative for Maintenance—the Finnish experience The Government of Finland has promoted rural road maintenance using road cooperatives. A road cooperative is a rural road maintenance organisation whereby a road is maintained by the people living along it. The Finnish Government has provided a legal framework which stipulates the right-of-way, cooperative ownership, and the formula for distribution of maintenance costs amongst the road users and property holders along the road. Participation in the road cooperative is compulsory for property owners who use the road. The cost of road maintenance is shared amongst the members of the cooperative depending on the benefits to each member in the form of the size of the holding and the created traffic. Each cooperative holds an annual general meeting to decide the fees, to accept new members and to audit the previous year’s accounts. (Isotalo 1992) Routine Maintenance by Community Based Micro-enterprises in Peru In Peru, the Rural Roads Project (RRP) has set up a cost-effective routine maintenance system based on contracting out labour- intensive maintenance works to micro-enterprises, local cooperatives, and other community based organizations. The composition of the micro-enterprises varies according to the length of the road. Their average size is about thirteen people and the average length of the roads covered under a contract is about 34.6 km. Typically, micro-enterprises are made up of eleven to twenty people living close to the road. Priority is given to unemployed people who have previous experience in construction works. The micro-enterprises are engaged through performance based contracts with Peru Roads Department (PCR) and paid on a monthly basis. Micro-enterprise members designate their president and executive council, and determine how the monthly payment is allocated to the various uses (wages, tools, rentals, transportation, savings, and other investments). On an average, wages account for 89 per cent of the expenditure. Micro-enterprises carry out simple works, continuously throughout the year, to clean the ditches and culverts, control vegetation, filling potholes and ruts, maintaining the surface camber, remove small landslides and undertake other emergency works. They have also demonstrated capacity to build retaining walls and small bridges and handle El Nino emergency works under the guidance of PCR. The micro enterprise is a cost effective way of keeping the roads rehabilitated in good condition. The programme generates direct employment for its members. The micro-enterprise becomes a focal point for community work and communal activities to ensure continuous support from the community. Lessons for India Using community based micro-enterprises has important lessons for India that has a very high percentage of unskilled labourers living in rural areas. The study highlights the active involvement of people in maintaining their own roads. Importance of group work can also not be neglected. It has been shown by people organized into groups that they can face the harshest of situations. MoRD has started an ambitious programme ‘Swarnjayanti Gram Swarozgar Yojana’ (SGSY) wherein people in villages are organized into groups for self employment. These groups can provide a good beginning for taking up road maintenance works in rural areas. Since rural roads carry low volume traffic, the requirements for routine road maintenance will be minimal as compared to periodic maintenance or rehabilitation. The Government also provides funds to generate employment in rural areas by schemes such as ‘Sampoorna Grameen Rozgar Yojana’ (SGRY), ‘National Food for Work Program’ (NFFWP), and ‘National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme’ (NREGS). However, under the present guidelines, funds available under these schemes cannot be spent for maintenance of existing assets. Moreover, the schemes stipulate formation of proper estimates before taking up any work. However, funds for routine maintenance should not wait for preparation of estimates. Under routine maintenance, funds should be given on a normative basis. Formation of estimates would delay maintenance works and defeat its very purpose. The guidelines under these schemes can be suitably modified so that groups of people can work for routine road maintenance. This would have the dual benefit of providing employment as well as ensuring adequate maintenance of roads. Typically, a village is connected by one road. In such cases, one group in the village may be given the task for maintaining that road. However, in villages with multiple connectivity, more than one group may be formed for routine maintenance works. A group should consist of eleven to twenty men who should be given preliminary training for taking up road maintenance works. The training can be given by existing state PWD engineers or master trainers specially trained for this purpose. Funds for training can be provided through the SGSY scheme.
Rural Roads 127 As in Peru, the state PWD department may also enter into a contract State PWD with these groups so that the groups are ensured a steady source of income NREGs SGSY and middlemen are eliminated. Depending on their performance, the groups should also be given incentives so that their needs for other equipment are also taken care of. After gaining enough experience in routine maintenance, these people may also be considered for taking up periodic maintenance, GROUP obviously, under strict control of the state PWD. The above scheme would have the benefits of routine road maintenance, employment in rural areas, poverty reduction, no extra requirement of funds for maintenance, feeling of ownership amongst the rural masses, a step towards decentralization Routine Roads’ Maintenance keeping in spirit of the 73rd amendment, creation of workforce for maintenance in all rural areas, effective planning for road maintenance, Fig. B5.5.1 Model for Rural Road Maintenance and control on routine maintenance (Figure B5.5.1). Note: Views expressed here are of the author of the box. Box 5.6 A Proposed Model of Community Participation in Rural Road MaintenanceEnsuring sustainability of rural roads requires (i) rigorous planning and design, (ii) an effective delivery system, (iii) mobilization ofadequate resources, and (iv) appropriate technology and mechanism for the maintenance interventions. The three-tier Panchayati RajSystem (PRIs), which has come into existence by virtue of the 73rd Amendment of the constitution, offers an excellent opportunity toinstitutionalize a hierarchical, decentralized system of maintenance with more technical and complex operations assigned to the districtlevel and the most routine and low technology operations to be tackled by the village panchayats through the maintenance gangs(MGs). The model envisages formation of MGs with four or five able-bodied villagers to be selected from the village itself andimparted training on simple maintenance activities. The suggested model of allocation of maintenance responsibility is as follows: Table B5.6.1 Model of Allocation of Maintenance ResponsibilityAdmn./Orgn Extent of Road ResponsibilityUnit Length, km.District 500–1000 Planning and assessment of maintenance needs regularly; rehabilitation and renewal works periodically every 5–7 years.Block (Inter- 50–100 Procurement of materials and equipment/implements & distribution to centralmediate panchayat) village gang (CVG).Central village 8–10 Collection of materials and equipment/implements from Block HQ and storing forgang (for a group distribution to MG.of villages)Maintenance 1–2 Execution of routine maintenance by the MG of the village.gang of village Each MG would be made responsible for maintaining 1–2 km of road located very close to the village. The intermediate panchayatlevel set up will have the responsibility to procure and store materials (aggregates and cold bituminous emulsion) and implementsrequired for maintenance which will be distributed to the central village gangs (CVGs) for further distribution to the MGs of thevillages. Normal agricultural/household implements used by villagers would actually be utilized for carrying out maintenance works.A specially made push-cart will be used by the MG for transporting materials and implements to the sites for maintenance works. Amanually operated pug-mill fitted to the push-cart will be used for mixing the aggregates and bitumen for producing the cold mix tobe used in maintenance of bituminous layer. A calibrated small metal container of known volume can be used for batching of the mixand a normal rammer will be used for manual compaction of the repaired shoulder, side slope, side drain, or location of the crack
128 India Infrastructure Report 2007 repaired. The proposed framework envisages availability of engineers at the district level to assess the maintenance needs and current pavement conditions every 6 months in rotation and to pass on the status report to the intermediate panchayat for onward transmission to the village panchayats. The district level maintenance unit will have facilities for periodic maintenance and renewal interventions based on pavement condition evaluation. Fair and equitable distribution of funds and material resources for operationalising this arrangement will be ensured by the functionaries at the district and the intermediate level. The proposed model allocates responsibility to the three-tiers of the panchayats commensurate with the capacity available at each level. The model also envisages competition among the panchayats and MGs to increase effective community participation in maintenance of rural roads through the PRIs. Source: Sikdar (2006). Box 5.7 Citizen Monitoring of Rural Roads Citizens and taxpayers, being the ultimate users, have a right to ‘demand’ good quality roads. However, this right cannot be divorced from their duty to exercise due diligence and vigilance in order to ensure proper utilization of funds spent and to ensure that the quality of the assets created meet the prescribed standards. It is, therefore, necessary to evolve and institutionalize a system of monitoring the quality of road works by the citizens. For this purpose, however, the essential requisite and features of successful citizen participation need to be demonstrated and validated experimentally. In this context, a pilot project has been taken up, under PMGSY, in collaboration with Public Affairs Centre, Bangalore, to demonstrate the utility of involving the citizens in monitoring of road construction. Under the pilot project, sixteen rural road projects will be identified in four districts in Karnataka and Tamil Nadu (two districts in each state). Each of the identified roads will be ‘citizen monitored’ in sections up to 50 per cent of their length. Each critical stage of road construction will be monitored by the citizen volunteers with appropriate quality checks. In each road, the citizen monitors will act as relay teams handing over responsibility to the next monitoring team after construction of a section of the road is completed and monitored. For each road project three to four citizens will be chosen to act as the core group of monitors. The monitors could be Civil Engineering students from the nearby colleges, volunteers from civil society organizations, citizen associations, Gram Panchayats, Mahila Mandals, and so on. However, they must have minimum requisite literacy/education and should have commitment and enthusiasm to perform the required tasks. These citizen monitors will be imparted basic training at convenient field locations by the experts with the help of a simple booklet detailing their tasks relating to monitoring and quality control. They would also be provided with a basic field kit of testing devices. A package of simple physical tests for monitoring and quality assurance of rural road projects will be designed under the guidance of eminent domain experts specifying the devices and testing modalities. In-house and on-site training would be provided to the citizen monitors for carrying out these field tests. Greater participation of rural citizens will be secured by treating the citizen monitors as focal points of the local groups. The citizen monitors are expected to assume ‘leadership’ role and train others from the village to participate in the monitoring process. Four road experts would be identified for each state, to provide peer guidance and to assist the citizen monitors. The experts will also carryout certain tests which are beyond the competence of the citizen monitors and which require more sophisticated testing devices not included in the standard tool kits. Each expert would undertake ten to fifteen field inspections during the pilot phase. The duration of the pilot phase is expected to be six months. All the processes involved in this exercise would be fully documented for ‘experience sharing’ and for developing a replicable model for citizen monitoring of infrastructure projects on a wider scale.PRIs for which resources available under SGSY and NREGS monitoring road construction and maintenance involves acan be pooled as suggested in Box 5.5. high degree of technical proficiency and competence. In this Since construction and maintenance of rural roads is connection, it may be worthwhile to mention that underalmost exclusively funded through public expenditure, it is PMGSY, states have been advised to fix ‘citizen informationthe tax payer’s money that needs to be accounted for. Besides, boards’ displaying physical and financial details of the project,the ultimate recipients of the service, the road users, should quantity of materials to be used and persons responsible forbe made aware of the investment made in the creation of the construction and supervision. This is a measure to enhanceassets and they should also be entitled to assess the cost the level of transparency in programme implementation.effectiveness and quality of the assets created for their benefit. Further a pilot project has been initiated through the PublicInstitutionalization of a system of social audit by the citizens Affairs Centre, Bangalore, to involve the citizens in monitoringand the road users is, therefore, essential, even though road quality (Box 5.7).
Rural Roads 129WAY FORWARD Promoting use of Labour Intensive TechnologyThe debate is whether one ought to centralize or decentral- While the poor households face fundamental deficiencies inize rural road development and maintenance. Protagonists their assets to capture benefits of the opportunities that a ruralof centralization assert that roads have certain special char- road may bring, one aspect of the rural road development,acteristics that make them different from other dispersed which benefits the poor directly, is the opportunity thatrural infrastructure. First, good roads require a reasonably construction and maintenance of these roads offer forhigh and uniform standard of construction and repair and employment when labour intensive methods are used.second, roads are not necessarily used by the local residents Experience from Asian and African countries reveals that thealone. In the pursuit of standardization and adherence to principal gains for the poor from rural road programmes isnorms, centralization can also be carried to extremes, put- through employment generated during the construction.ting wide powers in the hands of a few, totally eliminating Although employment on road construction is temporary inscope for community participation and flexibility for local nature, this provides an opportunity for the workers toinitiatives and innovations. PMGSY is a CSS and capital is accumulate savings which can provide the necessary start upprovided by the central government to the state governments capital to invest in alternative livelihoods to cross the thresholdto build the road network as per the central government of poverty. Labour intensive, intermediate technologies arenorms. The key issue remains of maintenance of this network expected to generate five to six times more jobs in constructionas it is handed over to the state government after construct- of rural roads as compared to the highly equipment orienteding the road. State governments are obliged to provide from methods used for the highways. Furthermore, adoption oftheir budgets for its maintenance. labour intensive construction methods need not affect the quality of works adversely, contrary to the popular belief. It has been successfully demonstrated in Cambodia andEnsuring Community Participation Peoples’ Republic of China that the quality of works, usingIntensive community participation is being widely recognized labour intensive methods, can be atleast as good as that ofas a major requirement for ensuring long term sustainability the contractors using heavy machineries. There is, therefore,of investment on rural infrastructure. Participatory planning a need to incentivize and promote use of labour intensiveand management facilitates assessment of the needs of the techniques for rural road programmes with a focus on povertyrural households in order to create integrated utilities for them. reduction.Such an approach also provides opportunities to the communityto reinforce their identity as a key stakeholder and to exercise Decentralization of Maintenancetheir choices and rights freely. This promotes a sense ofownership of the assets created and provides incentive for Rural roads, by their very nature, are small in size and aretheir participation in construction and subsequently, in the dispersed over a wide geographical area. Construction andmanagement of the assets. maintenance of rural roads are, therefore, not easily amenable While designing systems for community participation to centralized supervision and monitoring. Efficiencyand management, however, there is an important concern considerations weigh in favour of a decentralized system forwhich needs to be properly addressed. When community maintenance and management of rural roads. Case studiesmanagement entails cash or labour contributions, the of different developing countries have shown that regularburden generally falls disproportionately on the poor maintenance of rural roads is a critical pre-condition forhouseholds, since they may be forced to contribute free sustaining the positive impact which these assets generate forlabour time leaving less time for them to engage in their the rural community. Ensuring adequate and timelyprimary productive tasks. This might adversely affect their maintenance, both routine and periodic, however, requires notability to meet subsistence needs and food security. They only adequate availability of funds, but also major institutionalmay also be forced to contribute towards maintenance of reform. This is because the institutional responsibility forinfrastructure assets, which they rarely use. What we should rural roads is often not very clearly established. In many statesreally aim at in the involvement of the community is the there appears to be lack of clarity, at least in practice at theassessment of needs and decisions regarding maintenance and field level, over who is responsible for maintaining whichmanagement. This will ensure that community participation roads and also over the sources of funding their maintenanceis inclusive and pro-poor, since the poor will develop a stake requirements. In the absence of proper institutional systems,in using and maintaining the appropriate roads which serve very often there is no transparency and objectivity with regardtheir needs. to prioritization and selection of roads, maintenance
130 India Infrastructure Report 2007and rehabilitation. The ability to get a road included in the are currently being black topped irrespective of the projectedannual maintenance programme or a rehabilitation scheme, traffic. Indeed a whole range of proven, cost effective pavementconsequently, tends to depend heavily on the political strength options are now available as alternatives to bitumen surfaceand influence that the beneficiary community can exert. for low volume rural roads. Most of these paving optionsPoorer and more backward areas and communities are likely require relatively smaller capital investments and optimizeto suffer under such a regime since they are less likely to have use of local materials and use intermediate labour basedthe capacity and the power to lobby effectively for better roads. technology. A policy and institutional framework needs toThere is a clear case, therefore, to move towards an efficient be developed to ‘mainstream’ these alternatives for rural roads.system of decentralized maintenance of the rural roads by Providing all weather connectivity helps in promotingempowering the PRIs. It is hoped that a clear road map for this economic growth and alleviates poverty. The PMGSY haspurpose would be set out at least in the 11th Five Year Plan. accelerated works in connecting habitations all over the country and its impact on rural economy is perceptible not only in economic life of people but in social life as well. ThereCost Benefit Framework for Investment on Rural Roads is no clear policy on maintenance of these newly created assets,It is a common perception that all-weather roads should be though all PMGSY roads are covered by five years’ maintenancenecessarily black topped. Black topping, no doubt, provides contracts entered into along with the construction contract,better riding quality and stability to the surface as well as with the same contractor. But as funds are to be providedpavement structure. It prevents water percolation and arrests through the state budget, there are no earmarked funds forthe dust problem. However, black topping of fully constructed the maintenance of rural roads.crust becomes necessary only on the roads carrying high traffic There is little doubt that rural roads are vital to agro-volumes. Investment of this type on roads connecting smaller based industry and rural development, to create jobs, and tohabitations with low traffic volumes can be rarely justified make the country’s growth more broad based. As all-weatheron economic considerations. This calls for need based road road network through PMGSY is expanding we are witnessingconstruction keeping in view the expected economic returns social and economic change beyond our expectations. Thoughfrom the investment. While the rural roads Manual treats a watertight system to maintain this vast network is not ingravel road with necessary cross drainage and protection work place, it is unlikely that village community would let it fallas an all-weather road, almost all the roads under PMGSY into disuse.
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