Geography: Transport System in India

Posted by WBCSguru -


  1. Roadways:
    India has 3.3 million km of road network and the second largest in the world. The road traffic accounts for about 80% of the passenger traffic and 60% of the goods. In India, roadways have preceded railways. 43.5% of the total roads is surfaced roads.In India, roads are classified in the following six classes according to their capacity.
    1. Golden Quadrilateral Super Highways:The government has launched a major road development project linking Delhi-Kolkata- Chennai-Mumbai and Delhi by six-lane Super Highways has a total length of 5846kms. The North-South corridors linking Srinagar (Jammu & Kashmir) and Kanyakumari (Tamil Nadu) and East-West Corridor connecting Silcher (Assam) and Porbander (Gujarat) are part of this project. The project has a total length of about 7300km. The major objective of these Super Highways is to reduce the time and distance between the mega cities of India. These highway projects are being implemented by the National Highway Authority of India (NHAI).
    2. National Highways: National Highways link extreme parts of the country. These are the primary road systems and are laid and maintained by the Central Public Works Department (CPWD). A number of major National Highways run in North-South and East-West directions. The historical Sher-Shah Suri Marg is called National Highway No.1, between Delhi and Amritsar. The total length of the National Highways is 58,112 km. constitutes only two percent of the total road length but carry 40% of the total road traffic. NH 7 passes through Jabalpur, Nagpur, Hyderabad, Bangalore and Madurai and is the longest one with the total length of 2369 km.
    3. State Highways: Roads linking a state capital with different district headquarters are known as State Highways. These roads are constructed and maintained by the State Public Works Department (PWD) in State and Union Territories. These roads constitute 5.6% of total length of all roads. Other Roads.
    4. District Roads: These roads connect the district headquarters with other places of the district. These roads are maintained by the Zila Parishad.
      District Roads: These roads connect the district headquarters with other places of the district. These roads are maintained by the Zila Parishad.
    5. Border Roads: Apart from these, Border Roads Organisation a Government of India undertaking constructs and maintains roads in the bordering areas of the country. This organisation was established in 1960 for the development of the roads of strategic importance in the northern and northeastern border areas. These roads have improved accessibility in areas of difficult terrain and have helped in the economic development of these area.
      Road Density : The length of road per 100 sq. km of area is known as density of roads. Distribution of road is not uniform in the country.
      • Lowest in Jammu and Kashmir (10 km).
      • Highest in Kerala (375 km)
      • National Average (75 km).
      • Density of metalled roads: National average (42.4 km)
      • Goa has the highest density (153.8 km)
      • Jammu and Kashmir has the lowest density (3.7 km).
  2. Railways
    Railways are the principal mode of transportation for freight and passengers in India. Indian Rail transport is largest in Asia and fourth largest in the world. The Indian Railways is the largest public sector undertaking in the country with 1.6 million staff. The first train steamed off from Mumbai(Bori Bunder ) to Thane in 1853, covering a distance of 34 km. The Indian Railway have a network of 7, 031 stations spread over a route length of 63, 221 km. with a fleet of 7817 locomotives, 5321 passenger service vehicles, 4904 other coach vehicles and 228, 170 wagons as on 31 March 2004.
    • The Indian Railway is now reorganised into 17 zones.

      ZONESHead Quarters
      CentralMumbai (Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus)
      Northern Delhi
      Southern Chennai
      Western Mumbai (Churchgate)
      North East Gorakhpur
      North East Frontier Malegaon (Guwahati)
      South EastKolkata
      South Central Secundrabad
      East Coast Bhubneshwar
      East Central- Hajipur
      North Central Allahabad
      North Eastern Jaipur
      South Western Bangalore
      West Central Jabalpur
      South East Central Railway Bilaspur
      Konkan RailwayNavi Mumbai
    • Units manufacturing rolling stocks run by Indian Railways are:
      1. Chittaranjan locomotive works: Chittaranjan (W.Bengal).
      2. Diesel locomotive works: Varanasi (Uttar Pradesh).
      3. Integral Coach factory: Perambur (Tamil Nadu).
      4. Rail Coach factory: Kapurthala (Punjab).
      5. Wheel and Axle plant: Bangalore.
      6. Diesel Component works: Patiala (Punjab).
      7. M/s Jessops (Kolkata).
      8. Bharat Earth Movers Ltd, (Bangalore).
    • Railway Track Density:
      1. High Density : Delhi, Punjab, Bihar, W. Bengal, Haryana, Assam, Chandigarh, Pondicherry, Tamil Nadu, and Gujarat.
      2. Medium Density (1525 km/ 1000 sq.km): this covers the western part of the peninsula incorporating Goa, Maharashtra, Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh, Kerala and Rajasthan.
      3. Low Density (515km/ 1000 sq.km): eastern part of the peninsular India. Orissa and Madhya Pradesh (undulating topography, low population density and poor economic development have led to low density of rail network.).
      4. Very Low Density
  3. Waterways:

India has inland navigation waterways of 14,500 km in length. Out of these only 3,700 km are navigable by mechanised boats.Out of the 4,300 km canal length, 900 km is navigable but only 330 km is used.

  • The following waterways have been declared as the National Waterways by the Government.
    1. The Ganga river between Allahabad and Haldia (1620 km)-N.W. No.1
    2. The Brahmaputra river between Sadiya and Dhubri (891 km)-N.W. No.2
    3. The West-Coast Canal in Kerala (Kottapurma-Komman, Udyogamandal and Champakkara canals-205 km) – N.W. No.3
  • The other viable inland waterways include the Godavari, Krishna, Barak, Sunderbans, Buckingham Canal, Brahmani, East-west Canal and Damodar Valley Corporation Canal.
  • The Inland Water Ways Authority of India was set up in 1986 for the regulation, maintenance and development of National Waterways.
    With a long coastline of 7,516.6 km, India is dotted with 12 major and 184 medium and minor ports. These major ports handle 95 per cent of India’s foreign trade.
    • Mumbai is the biggest port with a spacious natural and well-sheltered harbour. The Jawaharlal Nehru port was planned with a view to decongest the Mumbai port and serve as a hub port for this region. Marmagao port (Goa)is the premier iron ore exporting port of the country. This port accounts for about fifty per cent of India’s iron ore export. New Mangalore port, located in Karnataka caters to the export of iron ore concentrates from Kudremukh mines. Kochi is the extreme south-western port, located at the entrance of a lagoon with a natural harbour.
    • Kandla in Kuchchh was the first port developed soon after Independence to ease the volume of trade on the Mumbai port, in the wake of loss of Karachi port to Pakistan after the Partition. Kandla is a tidal port.Moving along the east coast, you would see the extreme south-eastern port of Tuticorin, in Tamil Nadu. This port has a natural harbour and rich hinterland. Thus, it has a flourishing trade handling of a large variety of cargoes to even our neighbouring countries like Sri Lanka, Maldives, etc. and the coastal regions of India. Chennai is one of the oldest artificial ports of the country. It is ranked next to Mumbai in terms of the volume of trade and cargo.
    • Vishakhapatnam is the deepest landlocked and well-protected port. This port was, originally, conceived as an outlet for iron ore exports. Paradip port located in Orissa, specialises in the export of iron ore. Kolkata is an inland riverine port. This port serves a very large and rich hinterland of Ganga- Brahmaputra basin. Being a tidal port, it requires constant dredging of Hoogly. Haldia port was developed as a subsidiary port, in order to relieve growing pressure on the Kolkata port.
  2. Airways:
    • The air transport was nationalised in 1953.
    • Airport Authority of India (AAI) provides for safe efficient air traffic and aeronautical communication services in the India Air Space. The Authority manages 11 international and 112 domestic Airports.It also manages 28 passenger terminals at defense airfields.
    • International Air Ports are:
      Mumbai (Chhatrapati Shivaji International Air Port), Delhi (Indira Gandhi International Air Port), Kolkata (Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose), Chennai (Meenambakkam), Trivendrium (Thiruvananthpuram), Ahmedabad (Sardar Vallabh Bhai Patel Air Port), Cochin (Needumbassery I.A), Goa (Dabolim LA), Guwahati (Lokpriya Gopinath Bardoloi LA), Hyderabad (Rajiv Gandhi LA), Amritsar, Banglore.
    • Civil Aviation Training College (Allahabad) provides training on various operational areas.
    • National Institute of Aviation Management and Research (NIAMAR) at Delhi is managed by AAI.
    • Indira Gandhi Rastriya Udan Academy at Fursat Ganj in U.P is an autonomous body under Ministry of Civil Aviation. It imparts training to the parts.
    • On the operational side, Indian Airlines, Alliance Air (subsidiary of Indian Airlines), private scheduled airlines and non- scheduled operators provide domestic air services. Air India provides international air services. Pawanhans Helicopters Ltd. Provides helicopter services to Oil and Natural Gas Commission in its off- shore operations, to
      inaccessible areas and difficult terrains like the north-eastern states and the interior parts of Jammu and Kashmir, Himachal Pradesh and Uttaranchal. Indian Airlines operations also extend to the neighbouring countries of South
      and south-east Asia and the Middle east.
  3. Pipelines: Pipeline transport network is a new arrival on the transportation map of India. In the past, these were used to transport water to cities and industries. Now, these are used for transporting crude oil, petroleum products and natural gas from oil and natural gas fields to refineries, fertilizer factories and big thermal power plants.The far inland locations of refineries like Barauni, Mathura, Panipat and gas based fertilizer plants could be thought of only because of pipelines.There are three important networks of pipeline transportation in the country.
    1. From oil field in upper Assam to Kanpur (Uttar Pradesh), via Guwahati, Barauni and Allahabad. It has branches from Barauni to Haldia, via Rajbandh, Rajbandh to Maurigram and Guwahati to Siliguri.
    2. From Salaya in Gujarat to Jalandhar in Punjab, via Viramgam, Mathura, Delhi and Sonipat. It has branches to connect Koyali (near Vadodara, Gujarat) Chakshu and other places.
    3. Gas pipeline from Hazira in Gujarat connects Jagdishpur in Uttar Pradesh, via Vijaipur in Madhya Pradesh. It has branches to Kota in Rajasthan, Shahajahanpur, Babrala and other places in Uttar Pradesh.
  4. Communication: The Indian postal network is the largest in the world. In comparison with the other country, India has about 37,565 telephone exchanges spread all over in the country. Newspapers are published in about 100 languages and dialects.The largest number of newspapers published in the country are in Hindi, followed by English and Urdu. India is the largest producer of feature films in the world.The Central Board of Film Certification is the authority to certify both Indian and foreign films.
  5. International Trade: India has trade relations with all the major trading blocks and all geographical regions of the world. Among the commodities of export, whose share has been increasing over the last few years are agriculture and allied products (2.53 percent), ores and minerals (9.12 percent), gems and jewellery (26.75 percent) and chemical and allied products (24.45 per cent), engineering goods( 35.63 percent) and petroleum products (86.12 percent) The commodities imported to India include petroleum and petroleum products (41.87 percent), pearls and precious stones (29.26 percent), inorganic chemicals (29.39 percent), coal, coke and briquettes (94.17 per cent), machinery (12.56 per cent). Bulk imports as a group registered a growth accounting for 39.09 per cent of total imports. This group includes fertilizers (67.01 per cent), cereals (25.23 per cent), edible oils (7.94 per cent) and newsprint (5.51 per cent).


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