According to local reports, the Indian government has decided to use cement instead of bitumen (a popular raw material for road construction) for all new road projects throughout the country. The decision is in line with a proposal by Transport Minister Nitin Gadkari, who pushed for the use of cement for road construction, as it is more durable and cheaper to maintain, despite being more expensive in the short-term.
Gadkari stated that, given the volume of work still pending in various states (and plans to achieve an average road-building capacity of 30 km per day in the next two years), the Union ministry would ensure that prices come down. According to reports, the ministry is set to revive the sluggish cement industry and restart four of the seven closed public sector plants as part of its aim to reduce prices and obtain cement at a cost of around Rs.160 – 170 per bag (compared to the proposed rate of Rs.350 per bag).
According to ministry officials, detailed reports will be carried out to assess the project cost of using cement. The projects will be evaluated on the basis of the life cycle cost of the project (including maintenance costs), rather than by using just the cost of construction. Cement will be used for all new projects, as long as the cost of construction of a concrete road is not more than 20% higher than that of a road constructed using bitumen, said the officials.
Edited from various sources by Rosalie Starling
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