So, what makes up the economy of our country? The people? The jobs? What about the transport system that has made this country what it is now! Yes! If we are to speak of the lifelines of national economy, transportation does play a major role. In this chapter, we will discuss all the types of transportation channels that have made our country prosper.
Why is Transportation Important?
A good transport system makes it easier to transport raw materials to the factory. Transportation plays a major role in the lifelines of national economy. They also ensure that the finished products are transported to the consumers. Production of goods and services determine the pace of a country’s development. Therefore, efficient means of transport are pre-requisites for fast development.
Roadways in India
India has one of the largest road networks in the world, aggregating to about 2.3 million km at present. Hence, the growing importance of road transport vis-à-vis rail transport is rooted in the following reasons;
- The construction cost of roads is much lower than that of railway lines,
- Roads can traverse comparatively more dissected and undulating topography,
- Roads can negotiate higher gradients of slopes and as such can traverse mountains such as the Himalayas,
- Road transport is economical in the transportation of few persons and relatively smaller amount of goods over short distances,
- It also provides door-to-door service, thus the cost of loading and unloading is much lower,
- Road transport is also used as a feeder to other modes of transport such as they provide a link between railway stations, air, and seaports.
The length of road per 100 sq. km of area is known as the density of roads. The density of all roads varies from only 10 km in Jammu & Kashmir to 375 km in Kerala with the national average of 75 km (1996-97).
Railways in India
The Railways are the principal mode of transportation for freight and passengers in India. They also make it possible to conduct multifarious activities like business, sightseeing, pilgrimage. Therefore, they play a major role in the transportation of goods over longer distances. Railways in India bind the economic life of the country as well as accelerate the development of the industry and agriculture.
Development of Railways
The Indian Railway is now reorganized into 16 zones. The distribution pattern of the Railway network in the country has been largely influenced by physiographic, economic and administrative factors. The northern plains with their vast level land, high population density, and rich agricultural resources provided the most favorable condition for their growth. Therefore, the railway network is well advanced in this area.
Difficulty in Laying Railways
Likewise, it was difficult to lay railway lines on the sandy plain of western Rajasthan, swamps of Gujarat, forested tracks of Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Orissa, and Jharkhand. In recent times, the development of the Konkan railway along the west coast has facilitated the movement of passengers and goods in this most important economic region of India.
Pipelines in India
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 three major pipelines laid in our country are:
- From oil field in upper Assam to Kanpur (Uttar Pradesh)
- From Salaya in Gujarat to Jalandhar in Punjab
- Gas pipeline from Hazira in Gujarat connects Jagdishpur in Uttar Pradesh
Waterways in India
Waterways are the cheapest means of transport. They are most suitable for carrying heavy and bulky goods. It is a fuel-efficient and environment-friendly mode of transport. India has inland navigation waterways of 14,500 km in length. We have three National Waterways:
- The Ganga river between Allahabad and Haldia (1620 km)-N.W. No.1
- The Brahmaputra river between Sadiya and Dhubri (891 km)-N.W. No.2
- The West-Coast Canal in Kerala (Kottapurma-Komman, Udyogamandal, and Champakkara canals-205 km) – N.W. No.3
Airways in India
The air transport was nationalized in 1953. Indian Airlines, Alliance Air (a subsidiary of Indian Airlines) provide domestic air services. Private scheduled airlines and non- scheduled operators also provide similar air services. Air India provides international air services.
Question For You
Q. Write a note on the other channels of communication in India, lifelines of national economy.
Ans: Personal communication and mass communication including television, radio, press, films, etc. are the major means of communication lifelines of national economy.
- Indian Post: The Indian postal network is the largest in the world. It handles parcels as well as personal written communications.
- Telephone: India has one of the largest telephone networks in Asia. In order to strengthen the flow of information from the grassroots to the higher level, the government has made special provision to extend twenty-four hours STD facility to every village in the country.
- Mobile Telephones: India is one of the fastest growing mobile networks in the world. Mobile phones have changed the way Indians conducted business.
- Mass Communication: Mass communication provides entertainment and creates awareness among people about various national programmes and policies. It includes radio, television, newspapers, magazines, books, and films.
- Films: India is the largest producer of feature films in the world. It produces short films; video feature films and video short films.