Uttarakhand: the state – Uttarakhand is a land of immense opportunities, strategically located at the foothills of the Himalayan ranges and has a mountainous topography. The state is rich in natural resources, especially water and forests with many glaciers, rivers and dense forests. Uttarakhand has long been called “Land of the Gods” as the State has some of the holiest Hindu shrines, and for more than a thousand years, pilgrims have been visiting the region in the hope of salvation. There is no doubt that tourism and developmental work in Dehradun and other cities of Uttarakhand are growing but not to their full potential. One of the reasons for this is the condition of the roads in Uttarakhand, which takes a heavy toll on quality of riding surface, especially after the rains.
Government’s efforts in infrastructure development – For the last few years both the Centre and State Governments have been allocating and investing substantial funds for the creation of sound road infrastructure in all parts of the country and Uttarakhand is no exception. World over, it has been an established fact, that cement concrete roads and white topping have a definite edge over bitumen roads. Cement roads are therefore being preferred by developed and even by many developing countries. A few important cities which have already constructed cement roads and white topping are Mumbai, Delhi, Bangalore, Hyderabad, Pune and Nagpur. The Marine Drive Road stretch was concretized more than seven decades ago in Mumbai is still in good shape setting an example for cement vs bitumen.
Benefits of Cement road over Bitumen road – In context to Uttarakhand, cement concrete roads are especially beneficial for areas having heavy rainfall with hilly terrain. Since, Uttarakhand falls under both these counts; cement concrete roads are most suited to it for its large road network of 33,915 kms including National Highways, State Highways, Major District Roads and Village Roads.
Besides, concrete roads have an added environmental advantage for Uttarakhand in as much as they protect the hills and mountains from their fast rate of depletion since the consumption of aggregate materials, mainly sourced from mines and hills, in the construction of cement roads is significantly lower vis-à-vis that consumed in the construction of bitumen roads. By constructing cement roads, the road engineers would be providing not only a long- lasting road infrastructure but would also be helping address, to a large extent, without making any additional expenditure, some of the burning national problems for which both States and Central Government are grappling to find solutions. These problems relate to – protection of the environment, conservation of 14% fuel (Diesel & Petrol) and precious foreign exchange being spent on import of crude, conservation of 10% of electrical energy on street light, protection of our mines and creation of substantial downstream employment opportunities. Thus, cement roads have a far-reaching multiplier-effect on the growth of the economy of a state as a whole, much needed at present, to bring back the sagging economy back on track.
Cement industry of India – The Indian Cement Industry today has a pride of place on the global cement map, being the second largest cement producer in the world, both in installed capacity and in production. The Indian Cement Industry has made rapid strides not only in fast-paced growth of capacity but also in producing world-class quality of cement from State-of-the-Art technology manufacturing facilities.
N.A.Vishwanathan, Secretary General, Cement Manufacturers Association (CMA) also assured that cement production, at any given time, would be adequate to meet not only the increased requirements of road infrastructure projects, based on Cement Concrete, but also to meet in full, the emerging demands from housing, real estate and other sectors. On the other hand, the world over, availability of bitumen will be uncertain in a few years from now.
We have all seen how communication and computerization brought in a complete revolution in India in the last decade. This was made possible only after adopting the Modern state-of- art technologies in the country. On the same lines, if we want to build enduring road infrastructure of world standards, we have no option but to go in for only cement concrete roads for the faster growth of the economy.