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Road Development Policy

Government of Kerala have approved in GO (MS) 5/06/PWD the Kerala Road Sector Policy (2005). It aims at facilitating an efficient and safe road transportation system to fulfil the demand and the aspirations of the users for improving the quality of life and concomitant economic development. The policy document seeks to cover transportation of both passengers and freight, duly taking into account the environmental, technological, fiscal aspects related to motorized transport. The policy recognizes the important backward and forward linkages as manifest in developing an efficient road infrastructure on the one hand and the criticality of road safety on the other.

The Government seeks to address the following key road sector issues:

(a) Addressing network deficiencies and improving road sector financing:

The road policy outlines Government's strategic approach to improve the network capacity. GoK aims to rehabilitate existing high- and medium-density corridors in a phased and timely manner and upgrade the network to comply with modern highway design standards. Greater emphasis will be placed on road maintenance. PWD will be encouraged to contract out maintenance and operations to private contractors on a pilot basis and use more modern technology for road pavement and treatments. The Government aims to provide adequate funds to meet the growth demand, simultaneously exploring avenues of private sector participation in the transport sector. Since budget allocations alone are not expected to meet the road sector's growing requirements, the State intends to supplement its road sector resource allocation by instituting a wider base of road user charges. The Government recently legislated the establishment of a State Road Fund that will seek to generate user charges through road tolls and dedicated fuel levies. The Roads and Bridges Development Corporation of Kerala (RBDCK), recently established by the GoK, will seek to raise funds through loans, shares and grants from financial institutions in order to construct and maintain identified roads and bridges. RBDCK recently awarded contracts to build railway over-bridges in the state and several NH bypasses will be built as BOT schemes in the near future.

(b) Enhancing institutional capacities:

The Government has committed itself to improve the performance of the road sector. In particular, steps are being taken to modernise and improve the PWD's performance, covering all its activities so that it keeps pace with new developments and requirements. With this in view, a consultant was engaged to undertake an Institutional Development Strategy (IDS) study to help establish a strategy for developing the PWD's technical, managerial and financial capabilities to effectively manage the State road transport network and to be responsive to road users' demands. Based on the study's recommendations, an Institutional Strengthening Action Plan (ISAP) listing the institutional development activities that are to be implemented during the next five years and beyond was developed and debated. The Government has formally endorsed the ISAP. Based on the ISAP, the PWD is developing a programme for:

  • human resource development strategy
  • improving PWD's financial management capacities
  • capacity building for planning and policy functions
  • a management information system
  • strengthening environmental and social impact monitoring
  • improving procurement procedures
  • strengthening road safety engineering capacities

The state PWD has started implementation of some of the above. These measures are expected to reform PWD into a modern agency that will serve as a knowledge provider, while sourcing private sector capacities. ISAP implementation activities will be supported by IDS technical assistance consultants and three PWD staff working groups to seek institution-wide feedback on the ISAP. The institutional development consultants, who will serve as external experts to assist PWD in refining and implementing the ISAP, will work closely with the staff working groups that oversee,

  • organisational restructuring and institutional strengthening
  • management and quality systems
  • Information Technology and Management Information Systems

(c) Reducing accident rates and mitigating environmental and social impacts:

Kerala's high accident rates have prompted the Government to address road safety problems by introducing road safety audits for new road projects and analysing accident blackspot locations. PWD has developed, as part of project preparation, a draft comprehensive and integrated State Road Safety Action Plan, which includes recommendations for the following road safety sub-sectors:

  • coordination and management of road safety,
  • accident data systems,
  • safety publicity campaign,
  • safety engineering,
  • safety education for children,
  • traffic legislation and enforcement,
  • driver training and testing,
  • vehicle safety standards,
  • emergency aid to road accident victims, and
  • safety research.

As for environmental and social impact issues, the GoK's approach is to identify potential impacts early in the planning process and programme accordingly so as to avoid or mitigate adverse effects of road development. The policy is to prepare and implement Environmental Management Plans (EMP) whenever required, and to develop codes for environmental practice related to State road construction and maintenance.