The government is working towards expanding the National Highway network to 2 lakh kilometres by 2025, Union Road Transport and Highways Minister Nitin Gadkari said on Friday.
Addressing an event organised by Indian Roads Congress (IRC), Gadkari also proposed the setting up of 'Innovation Bank' for new ideas, research findings and technologies to focus on quality in infrastructure development.
"Our government is dedicatedly working towards expanding the National Highway network to 2 lakh kilometres by 2025," he said.
The minister pointed out that in the last eight years, the length of National Highways has gone up by more than 50 per cent -- from 91,000 km in 2014 to about 1.47 lakh km now.
Noting that the government is very committed to the development of the northeast region, he said NHIDCL (National Highways and Infrastructure Development Corporation) is playing a vital role in developing infrastructure in this region.
"Till date, 2,344 km highway has been constructed at the cost of Rs 45,000 crore in the North East region," Gadkari said.
The minister said infrastructure development has an important role in fulfilling the vision of Prime Minister Narendra Modi to make India a 5 trillion-dollar economy.
Innovation should be the focus area for all engineers and IRC should develop a world-class state-of-art laboratory with the help of IITs and global institutions, Gadkari said.
There should be minimum carbon footprints and exploitation of limited natural resources during the construction and operation phase, he added.
According to Gadkari, a sustainable alternative for steel and cement should be found.