In an interesting affidavit filed before the apex court, the Centre said the length of national highways in the country was 29,023 km in 1980, which expanded to 76,818 km by the end of 2012. This means 47,795 km of national highways was added by successive governments in 32 years. However, the affidavit revealed that during 1997-2002 (ninth five-year plan), when the NDA was in power, 23,814 km of national highways was added to the existing NH network, or nearly 50% of the total length of national highways constructed in three decades. This remains the largest construction of national highways during any five-year period since independence. In fact, during the nearly 10-year rule of the UPA government, the total length of national highways laid was much less - nearly 16,000 km, the affidavit said.
The affidavit came on a PIL filed by Sanjay Kulshresta, who sought several directions from the apex court to make highways safe for motorists including making available expeditious medical help to accident victims. India has a total road network of 46.90 lakh km with a road density of 1.43 km per square km. While national highways account for 79,116 km, state highways make up 1,55,716 km and the remaining 44.55 lakh km is classified as 'other roads'. "National highways comprise only 1.7% of total road network but carry about 40% of road traffic," the Centre said. This is as per an affidavit filed in Supreme Court by the Central Govt News report TOI