Transportation in India

Class 10 Geography Chapter 7 Lifelines of National Economy


Transportation in India takes place in by various medium. In this article let’s talk about transportation in India through roadways, railways, airways and waterways.

Transportation in India- Roadways

In India about 2.3 million km of road network. Moreover, Roadways are comparatively easier to build and maintain than railways. Therefore, there are various importance of using roadways, construction cost of roads are cheaper than railways. However, roads are easier to construct on irregular surfaces, unconnected regions, slopes, etc. cost of loading and unloading goods is much lower. It also acts as feeder to other modes of transport as it connects to railway stations, airports and seaports. There are few challenges to road transportation. Road network is inadequate to fulfill demand of traffic. Nearly half of roads are unmetalled hence, roads get damaged in monsoon. Roadways are congested in cities. Most of bridges are old.

Classification of Roadways

Classification of roadways is done on basis of capacity and type of material. Following is the classification based on capacity.

  • Golden Quadrilateral super highways: These highways are the six lane highways constructed and maintained by National Highway Authority of India. These highway links to Delhi -Kolkata-Chennai-Mumbai-Delhi. Objective of this highway is to reduce the time and distance between the mega cities. Moreover, North – South corridors links Srinagar to Kanyakumari, whereas, East – West corridors links Silcher to Porbandar are constructed.
  • National Highways: National highways links extreme parts of country. Number of highways are spread in North to South and East to West directions. These highways are laid and maintained by Central Public Works Department (CPWD).
  • State Highways: Roads connecting to state capital to district headquarters are state highways. These are highways laid and maintained by State Public Works Department in state and union territories
  • District Roads: These connect district headquarters with other places of district. These road are laid and maintained by Zila Parishad.
  • Other Roads: These link rural areas and villages with towns. Under Pradhan Mantri Grameen Sadak Yojana villages of the country are linked to towns by all season motorable roads.
  • Border Roads: These roads are constructed and maintained by Border Roads Organisation in bordering areas of the country.

Classification on the basis of type of material.

  • Metalled roads: These roads are made up of cement, concrete, bitumen coal. Such roads are useful throughout the year.
  • Unmetalled roads: Unmetalled roads are made in absence of cement and concrete, thus, they get damaged in rainy season .

Transportation in India – Railways

Railways are primary means of bulk transport of good and passengers in India. They are helpful in economic development of country, also, it accelerate the development of industry and agriculture. Indian Railways got a huge route length of 64640 km which have 7133 stations. It has 9213 locomotives, 53220 passenger service vehicles, 6493 other coach vehicles and 2,23,381 wagons as on March 2011. Indian Railways is divided in 16 zones.

Factor on which distribution of railways depends

  • Northern Plains: Presence of vast level land, high population density and rich agricultural resources make northern plains favourable for growth of railway network.
  • Rivers: It is not easy to construct bridges and spread railway network on large number of river having wide beds.
  • Peninsular Regions: In hilly areas of peninsular region, railway tracks are constructed through low hills, gaps and tunnels.
  • Himalayan mountains: Himalayan mountainous regions also are unfavourable, due to tall areas, very short population and therefore lack of economic opportunities.
  • Sandy plains, swamps and forest tracts: spreading of railway tracks is limited in Rajasthan due to sandy plains, swamps of Gujarat, forested tracts of Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Odisha and Jharkhand.
  • West coast: Konkan railway is developed which connects most important economic regions of India

Transportation in India – Airways

Air ways is most fastest and most comfortable mode of transport. It enables us to access any difficult terrain like mountains, deserts, forests and long oceanic distances. Airways are important in north eastern part of India, where there are long rivers, isolated regions, dense forest and continuous flooding conditions. Today Indian Airlines, Alliance Air and domestic air services are providing airways transportation facilities. Air India is providing transportation between countries. Moreover, Indian airlines are primarily established its network in south, south east asia and middle east countries. Such type of transportation is not in reach of common people. Only north eastern parts some provisions are made to extend this service to common people.

Transportation in India – Waterways

Waterways provide cheaper means for transporting bulky and heavy goods, also, these are fuel efficient and environment friendly means of transport. In India, inland navigation waterways are 14500 km long, out of which only 5685 km is travelled by mechanised vehicles.

National Waterways

River Ganga between Allahabad and Haldia is national waterway number 1 with length 1620 km. Brahmaputra river between Sadiya and Dhubri is national waterway number 2 with length 891 km long. The West Coast Canal in Kerala from Kottapuram to Kollam is national waterway number 3. Length of this waterway is 205 km. however, west coast canal includes Udyogamandal and Champakara canals. Waterway number 4 lies in between Kakinada and Puducherry. It extends upto 1078 km long. Stretches of river Brahmani, Matai, delta channels of Mahanadi and east coast canal forms national waterway number 5. In 7516.6 km of coastline, India has 12 major and 187 minor seaports. Major seaports handle 95 percent of India’s foreign trade.

Keywords: Transportation in India, Railways, Airlines. Brahmaputra, Golden quadrilateral super highways

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