Transport, Communication and Trade are together included in Tertiary economic activity. They are also the chief means of exchange and interaction between different sectors or regions of an economy. Trade arises on account of specialisation and regional economic differences. For trade to take place transport and communication are necessary.
A good network of roads, railways,waterways and airways are the life-lines of a country. The agricultural and economic development of a country depends upon efficient transport system. The developed means of transport is essential for the utilization of natural resources. It is the basis of industries and the trade of country. It helps to join the far flung regions into a single national economy. These help in defending the independence and the national unity of a country. Just as the arteries supply blood to the different parts of human body, similarly transport system maintains the movement of men and different products in different parts of the country. So means of transport are called lifelines of a nation.
Means of transport can be divided into three types:
(i) Land Transport. (ii) Ocean Transport. (iii) Airways.
Road Transport in India
India today has more than 34 lakh km road networks, one of the world’s largest. Road is a major medium of land transport. It is the cheapest and the quickest means of transport for short distances. Roads can be constructed in rough and undulating terrain. The use of surface roads for automobiles has increased the importance of roads.
Surfaced and Unsurfaced Roads: There are two types of roads in India (i) metalled roads (surfaced roads) and (ii) unmetalled roads (unsurfaced roads). Metalled roads are the best roads made of cement or tarcol. The unsurfaced roads are Kutcha roads. These roads are important in rural areas of India. These can be easily constructed. These roads connect villages with towns. These roads open up the countryside to the modern ways of living in towns. These roads are suitable for carrying goods by bullock carts over short distances. India has 15 million bullock carts which carry nearly 900 million tonnes of goods. There are about 11 lakh kilometres of unsurfaced roads in India.
The history of road construction in India is very old. Sher Shah Sun constructed Grand Trunk Road. After independence, a 10 year road development scheme known as the Nagpur Plan, was prepared. Four types of roads are found in India (on administrative basis).
(i) National Highways
(ii) State Highways
(iii) District Roads
(iv) Village Roads
Road density: The length of road per 100 sq. km is known as density of road. It was 63 in 1997-98 in India. Low road density is found in hilly areas. High density of roads is found in states of Northern India, Tamil Nadu and Kerala.
Main features of Roads In India:
(1) India has 14 akh km of metalled roads.
(2) India has 11 lakh km of unmetalled roads.
(3) India has just 63 km road length for every 100 sq. km area. (Density). It has a road length of 251 km for every one lath people.
(4) India has 57,735 km of National Highways arid 4 lath km of state highways.
(5)About 26 lath automobiles move on roads of India.
(6)Annual income from roads is about 1500 crore rupees.
(7)Indian roads carry about 30% of total freight of the countly
(8)The important National Highways are:
(a) Sher Shah Sun Marg (G.T. Road) Kolkata to Jammu.
(b) Delhi-Mumbai Road
(c) Kolkata-Mumbai Road
(d) Mumbai-Chennai Road
(e) Great Deccan Road (Varanasi to Knyakumari)
(f) Kolkata-Chennai Road
(g) Pathankot-Srinagar Road
The Border Road Development Board was established in 1960. It has got constructed about 27,925 km long metalled roads in border areas. It has constructed the world’s highest road from Manali (H.P.) to Leh (I & K). The average height of this road is 4270 metres.
BOT organisation : The govt. has opened road building to a Private Sector with joint collaboration of foreign countries. Its policy is to ‘build’, ‘operate’ and ‘transfer’. It will bear the cost of construction, operate roads, collect road taxes.