At present, there are no set norms to assign the national highway tag to a road
New norms for conversion of any road into a national highway (NH) are expected to be unveiled by the end December, according to a report by The Times of India.
Multiple rounds of inter-ministerial consultations were held since September to finalise the new norms.
One of the criteria for any road to be declared a national highway would be that at least 5,000 vehicles use it daily and its direct connectivity to an existing national highway, the report suggests.
The report adds that the density of national highways in a particular state would also be a key factor to qualify for a road to get the tag.
At present, there are no set norms to assign the national highway tag to a road. When the road transport ministry receives a request from a state government, it gives that road a national highway status.
After the new norms come into force, a committee of secretaries will be setup to identify roads to be designated as national highways. After this, the administrative approval will come from the transport ministry.
In the past four-and-a-half years, 38,000 kilometre (km) of roads have been added by the highways ministry to the national highway network, taking the total length to 1.29 lakh km. As many as 54,000 km of roads have received in-principle approval.
Newly declared national highways that do not meet the new criteria may also lose the tag.“Striking off stretches with in-principle approval from the list will not be a problem since no investment has been made by the Centre. But de-notifying any of the already declared NHs because they won’t qualify as per the new norms may end up becoming a political issue,” the newspaper quoted a source as saying.