Transport in India


Transport means movement of goods and people from one place to another. Communication means conveying messages or news from one place to another. The development of civilization has also led to the development of Transport and Communication. The rapid growth of science and technology during the twentieth century has revolutionized transport and communication to a great extent. Today our world is shrinking because of communication. Transport and communication is available on land, water and air.

When we compare, the economic system of a nation to a human body, agriculture
and industry form its backbone and muscles and transport and communication are its nervous system. In the human body the intellectual functions take place through the nerves, likewise the economic progress takes place through transport and communication system
We find three types of transport system in India.
1. Land transport - roads, railways,tunnels and pipelines
2. Water transport - Inland waterways and coastal waterways
3. Air transport - Domestic and International

Roads: Construction of roads was important even during the Harappan civilization. Many kings gave priority to the construction of roads in the past. e.g. Ashoka, Harsha and others. During the Mughal period, the construction of roads was further developed. Sher Shah was responsible for the construction of roads like our present day National Highways (reconstructed a road from Delhi to Peshawar). During the British period, roads were constructed mainly for defence purpose. Lord Dalhousie laid the foundation for the construction of four National Highways.

India is a land of villages and is predominantly an agricultural nation. Roads are essential for the progress of villages and agriculture. Farmers can carry their products to the markets only along roads. Roads are also essential for the development of industries In forest and hilly areas where other means of transport cannot be provided, construction of roads is easier. Roads are feeders to railways. It is possible to provide door to door service through roads. Road transport is very convenient for short distance travel and to carry light goods. There are two types of roads, namely surfaced roads or metalled roads and unsurfaced roads or kuccha roads.
Surfaced roads are made of cement, concrete, bitumen and gravel. They are all season roads and are also called ‘pucca roads’.
Unsurfaced roads are mud roads. They are mostly found in rural areas. They are of little use during the rainy season. Prime Minister’s "Grameena Sadak" Plan intends to convert many unsurfaced roads into pucca roads. Besides, the recent “Golden Quadrilateral” plan is aimed at constructing a huge National Highway with six or eight lanes from Srinagar to Kanyakumari and from Kachchh to Kachar. Roads are classified into National Highways, State Highways, District roads and Village roads.
1) National Highways: The central government is responsible for the construction and maintenance of these roads. There are 56 National Highways in the country and they cover a length of about 52,010 km of length. They connect the capitals of the states and the ports.
2) State Highways: The State government constructs and maintains these roads. They are very important for the in states and we have about 11 lakh kms. length of these roads. These highways connect district headquarters, National Highways and important cities.
3) District Roads: The responsibility and maintenance of these roads is under the Zilla Parishad. These roads connect the Taluk headquarters with State and National Highways.
4) Village Roads: The village panchayats have the responsibility of construction and maintenance of these roads. They are the interior roads and connect villages with other roads.
India has a long land border and the protection of our border areas by our Jawans
is very important. Border roads are constructed for this purpose. The construction and maintenance of these roads is vested with the Border Road Development Authority. This authority has constructed a road from Manali in Himachal Pradesh to Leh in Kashmir. It is the highest constructed road in the world.

Railway Transport in India: Indian Railways are under the public sector. Most of the goods and people are transported by railways. The first railway line was constructed between Bombay and Thane (34 km.) in 1853, followed by the railway line from Calcutta to Raniganj in 1854 and Madras to Arkonam in 1856. Bangalore to Madras railway connection took place in 1864. Railways were constructed by the British for strategic reasons and commercial purposes. The raw materials were carried to the ports to be transported to Britain and their finished goods were distributed in India. However they proved beneficial to India in many ways.
Benefits of Railways: Railways are very helpful to provide infrastructural facilities.
They are very helpful to transport agricultural products to the markets. They supply
chemical fertilizers required by agriculture. They help to supply raw materials to industries
and to distribute the finished products. They play a very important role in internal and external trade. They are an excellent means for the movement of people. Roads are feeders to the railways and railways help in the development of road transport. About 80 % of the goods and 70% of the people are railway transport. Indian railway system is the largest network in Asia and the fourth largest in the world. It runs through 81,000 km. and every day there is a movement of 13,000 trains. There are 7,100 railway stations in India. Indian railways still consists of three gauges. They are broad gauge, meter gauge and narrow gauge. The narrow gauge is useful in mountain and hilly regions. In many places, meter gauge is being converted into broad gauge. Our government is working at a single gauge system since 1992. Our railways have provided jobs to 16.49 lakh people. It is the largest public sector undertaking in the world and has a record in the Guinness Book. The gangetic plain has a dense network of railways. The Northern mountains and the Peninsular Plateaus pose problems for the construction of railway lines. The Thar Desert has very few railway lines. Railways move along particular tracks and hence door to door service is not possible. To provide door to door service container services aided by road transport have been provided. For better administration of railway transport, railways in India are divided into sixteen railway zones. Modernisation of railways has been carried on in many ways.
Some of them are:
1) Steam engines are replaced by diesel engines and many railway tracks have
been electrified.
2) To provide better facilities to the travellers, air-condition coaches and sleeper
coaches have been provided.
3) Automatic signalling and communication systems have been introduced.
4) Many single tracks have been converted into double tracks to reduce the running time and meter gauge tracks are being converted into broad gauge.
5) Super fast express trains have been introduced for quick movement e.g. Shatabdi express and Rajdhani express.
6) Pantry service has also been provided to supply food and snacks to the travellers.
7) Security forces (R.P.F.) are in attendance to provide security for the passengers.
8) Many facilities are provided in railway stations for the benefit of travellers.
9) Underground train services and metro trains have been introduced in Delhi and Kolkata.

Pipeline transport: It is a new addition to our transport system. They provide a convenient mode of transport for oil, natural gas and mineral ores. They rule out transhipment delays and losses that occur to shift from one vehicle to another. At present all the oil fields are connected by pipelines to the refineries. Though the initial cost of laying the pipelines is high, their benefits are many. A pipeline has been laid from Kuduremukh to Mangalore to transport iron ore (in slurry form).

WATERWAYS: Waterways provide navigation facilities by means of boats and ships. The oceans, seas, lakes, rivers and canals form inland waterways. India has 7,515.5 kms of coastline and 14,500 km. of inland waterways. India has been famous for water transport since ancient days. During the British rule our waterways were neglected. After Independence our waterways were developed and today India has about 515 ships, 12 major ports, medium and small ports. 85% of our foreign trade is carried on by ships. Waterways are the cheapest means of transport because they do not involve expense on construction. They can carry huge quantity of goods.
Waterways are classified into three types. They are
2) Coastal shipping and
3) Ocean waterways.
Inland waterways: Rivers Ganges, Brahmaputra. Mahanadi, Godavari and Krishna, the Buckingham canal of Andhra Pradesh and Tamilnadu and the back water canals of Kerala are the important inland waterways of India. The North Indian rivers are useful for navigation throughout the year. There is a decline of inland waterways in recent years. The construction of railways and roads parallel to inland waterways and the construction of dams across the rivers are responsible for the decline of inland waterways. In Assam water transport along the river Brahmaputra is more important than land transport. The canals constructed from the dams are also useful for inland navigation. West Bengal has many canals which are useful for inland navigation. The Inland Waterways Authority was established in 1985 for the development of national inland waterways.

Coastal Shipping: India has a coastline of 7,515.5 kms. Many ships carry heavy and bulky commodities such as coal, salt, cement, food grains, chemical fertilizers, jute and iron ore from one port to another port.

Ocean Waterways: India occupies a central position in the Eastern Hemisphere and is favourably located. Our ocean transport also suffered during the British rule. Since Independence, our country has made great progress in ocean transport. About, 85% of our foreign trade is carried on by ships. Till recently foreign ships handled a major portion of it but now our ships handle goods to a great extent. India has 12 major ports. Kandla, Mumbai, Nhava Sheva (Jawaharlal Nehru port), Marmagoa, New Mangalore and Kochi are on the west coast. Tuticorn, Chennai, Vishakapatnam, Paradeep, Haldia and Kolkata are on the east coast.

Kandla: The construction of this port was started during the First Five Year Plan. It is at the head of the Gulf of Kachchh in Gujarat. Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan, Punjab, Haryana and Uttaranchal are its hinterland.
Mumbai: It is the biggest, most spacious, natural and well-sheltered port of India. Its from Delhi in the north, to Karnataka in the south and Andhra Pradesh in the east. Nhava Sheva is a new major and modern seaport off Mumbai port. It has relieved the congestion on Mumbai port. Mumbai port is called the “Gate Way of India”.
Marmagoa: It is located at the entrance of Zuari estuary and serves Goa and Karnataka states. Iron ore and Manganese ore are mostly exported through this port.
New Mangalore Port: It is the most important port of Karnataka. It serves Karnataka and Kerala states. Iron ore, manganese, granite, timber, cashewnuts and tiles which are largely produced in Karnataka, are exported through this port. Raw materials, crude oil and food grains required by Karnataka are imported through New Mangalore port.
Kochi: It is another port on the west coast of India and serves Kerala, Tamilnadu and southern parts of Karnataka.
Tuticorn: It is a recently constructed port in the southern part of Tamilnadu. The
southern parts of Tamilnadu form its hinterland.
Chennai: It is the oldest port of India. It has an artificial harbour. It serves Tamil Nadu and Karnataka.
Vishakhapatnam: It is the deepest landlocked and well-protected port of Andhra
Pradesh. It serves Andhra Pradesh, Orissa, Madhya Pradesh and Maharashtra.
Paradeep: It is the recently developed port in Orissa, situated in Mahanadi delta. It serves Orissa and Madhya Pradesh.
Kolkata: It is a natural harbour on the banks of the river Hooghli. The river Hooghli gets blocked with sand and mud and requires constant dredging. (Removal of sand and mud from the river floor is called dredging). Dredging is the main occupation of thousands of people, who live on the banks of river Hooghli. Kolkata is the second largest terminal port of South Asia. It serves the Gangetic and Brahmaputra plains. It is called the “Tea Port of India”. Large ships cannot reach this port.
Haldia: It is a newly developed port on the coast of Bay of Bengal, to overcome the
problems of congestion at Kolkata port.

Air transport is the quickest means of transport. India is a vast country and for
emergency purposes, air transport is very necessary in India. The regions which cannot be connected by land and water transport, can be connected by air transport e.g. northeastern parts of India and the regions which become isolated from other regions by floods. (Air transport is cheaper than other means of transport from Kolkata to Agartala). After Independence air transport has made great progress in India. Today almost all the capitals of the states are connected by air transport. Tourism has made great progress due to the development of air transport. Until recently air transport was under the public sector and now the private sector has also entered into this field. e.g. Jet Airlines, Sahara Airlines etc.
There are two separate corporations for operational purposes under the public
sector. They are 1) the Indian Airlines and 2) the Air India International.
Indian Airlines caters to the domestic needs and also connects our country with the neighbouring countries. Air India international connects India with other countries. Large airports and many other facilities are required for international air transport. At present there are five International Airports in India. They are, 1) Indira Gandhi Airport at Delhi 2) Sahara Airport at Mumbai 3) Subash Chandra Bose airport at Kolkata 4) Anna Airport at Chennai and (5) Thiruvananthapuram airport. Rajsansi airport at Amritsar has also been developed as an International airport. All efforts have been made to develop
an International Airport at Devanahalli near Bangalore. India has about 92 airports.

Air transport in India has some disadvantages. They are
1) air transport is very expensive when compared to other means of transport
2) it is difficult to transport bulky and heavy goods by air
3) the pressure from other means of transport is great.
But air transport is very convenient for quick movement of passengers and postal mail service, as also for defence purposes and during times of war, drought, floods and other natural calamities.

There are many evidences to show that even during the ancient times, communication system was in existence in India. Animals like horses and camels and birds like pigeons were used for the purpose of communication. Today the different means of communication are post, telegraph, radio, television, computer network, cinema, newspapers, etc. The postal system was well organized by the government even in the past. Chikka Devaraja Wodeyar of Mysore gave the name Anche (post) for the system that existed at that time to send mail from one place to another.

Need For communication media: India is a vast country and also a country of
villages, cities and towns. Villages are spread over long distances. There is a great
need for communication. Many a time, due to natural calamities, different regions are cut off from each other and it is very essential to maintain communication during such times. Communication is also very essential for the economic progress of the country.
Post and Telegraph system: Modern postal system was introduced in India in 1837
and telegraph system in 1851. However, great progress has been achieved in post and telegraph after Independence. Now there are 1,60,000 post offices in India (there were 1,57,102 in 1990). Mail is carried by land, water and air. Apart from carrying letters from one place to another, post offices render many other services also. They are:
1) they undertake remittance of money from one place to another.
2) they help to carry insured parcels from one place to another safely,
3) through the Savings Bank Service and National Savings Certificates they encourage thrift and saving
4) they accept payments to be made to the government.
To send mail safely and quickly, some new devices have been adopted. The
important ones are Postal Index Number (PIN) in 1972. According to it each post office is assigned an index number and mention of this index number on the address enables the mail to reach that post office without any delay. In the same way Quick Mail Service (QMS) was introduced in 1975 and Speed Post was introduced in 1986. Some post offices have the telegraph service also. Now Telephone facility has been extended to the rural areas. It has resulted in the decline of Telegraph service.
Telephone Media: National Telex service which was introduced in 1963, has enabled the customers to exchange ideas directly among themselves, Telephone network has spread over the entire country and customers are getting many benefits. By the year 2000 there were 14,300 telephone exchanges in the country, out of which 11,000 were in villages. Subscribers Trunk Dialling (STD is also called Straight Trunk Dialling) enables the subscribers to communicate with each other directly within the country, In the same way International Trunk Dial (ISD) service was introduced in 1973. It enables the subscribers to communicate with the people of other countries directly. Automatic telephone service has facilitated speedy communication. Now we find cellular phones which can be carried in pockets for communication. Along with these facilities, computers also help in communication. Important among them are “Internet, E-mail and fax”. Internet facility connects the computers of the world with each other, Thousands of Universities, Government organizations, Business centres all over the world are able to get or exchange information with each other. People have also benefited from them.
E-mail: E-mail or electronic mail also helps to send messages from one place to
another at a greater speed. It is primarily a service to store and forward messages. The messages are sent and stored electronically in the mail box waiting for the time till they are retrieved. Beside the messages, even pictures, information regarding business and entertainment programmes can be sent or received.
Fax: Fax is a machine. It helps any message in its original form to be received and
printed. E-mail, Cell phones and Satellite services help this machine. In addition to all these devices, World Wide Web (WWW) collects information through computers and gives it to us whenever required.
International Telecommunication Satellite Consortium (INTELSAT): It a partnership of nations, which uses global satellites for communication purposes. Indian satellite stations at ARVI near Pune and DOON near Dehradoon have established high frequency radio, television, telex and telegraph circuits. This has helped to develop and strengthen friendly relations with other parts of the world.
Radio and Television: Radio and television plays a very important role in mass
communication. They are of great help in educating and entertaining masses. They show a variety of programmes such as entertainment, educational and informative programmes. They also give Information regarding weather, market trends, political and international events. Sometimes direct discussion programmes are also arranged with different catogaries of people on various subjects.
All India Radio was started in 1930. It was in Mysore city that the term “AKASHAVANI” was coined. There are about 171 broadcasting stations in India (2000 A.D). In 1959 television was introduced in India as a part of radio. It made rapid progress and in 1976 it was delinked from radio and given the name Doordarshan. Colour television was started in 1982. Now television has grown into one of the biggest networks in the country and has about 520 transmitting stations. The country’s highest television tower at Pitampura near Delhi is 235 mts. high. It is dedicated to the memory of Dr. B.R.Ambedkar. Today there are many private channels which operate television networks.
Print Media: Newspapers and journals come under print media. There are more than 2200 dailies in different languages printed In India. The number of dailies is on the increase. About 41 newspapers have a history of more than 100 years. The oldest and still existing newspaper is Bombay Samachar in Gujarathi language. It was started in 1822. Newspapers are printed in India in about 93 languages. With growing literacy in India, the press has a bright future. There is a great need for independent, thought provoking and enlightened newspapers. Apart from dailies there are many periodicals, journals, weeklies, and magazines. They deal with entertainment, sports, cultural events, academic pursuits, political trends and general topics. They are in English and also in the regional languages.

I Complete the following statements with appropriate words:
1) The foundation for four national highways was laid by ................during the British period.
2) Prime Minister’s ..........plan intends to convert many un-surfaced roads into pucca roads.
3) During the First Five Year plan period construction of a major port was started at ............
4) A new port called ............. off Bombay, has latest traffic and cargo handling equipment.
5) To overcome the problems of Kolkata port........Port was constructed on the coast of Bay of
6) The international Airport at Amritsar is called ...............
7) The oldest and still existing newspaper of India is ...............

II Answer each of the following questions in a sentence:
1) Which are the two types of roads?
2) Why are surface roads called all season roads?
3) Which places were connected by the first railway line in India?
4) Give two examples for Superfast express trains in India.
5) Which are the important commodities carried by pipelines.
6) Which is the biggest natural port of India?
7) Which is the oldest port of India?
8) Where was the term “Akashavani” first coined?
III Study the relation between the words given in the first pair and complete the second pair:
1) Kandla: Gujarat:: Pradeep : ..............
2) Delhi: Indira Gandhi Airport :: Mumbai : .............
3) Leh: Kashmir :: Manali : ...........
4) District roads : Zilla Parishad: Border roads: ...............
5) New Mangalore: Karnataka:: New Tuticorn : ................
6) Marmagoa : Zuari : : Kolkata: .........

IV Answer each of the following questions in two or three sentences:
1) Mention the different means of transport.
2) Which are the different types of water transport?
3) Which are the different types of roads in accordance with their construction and maintenance?
4) What are the uses of roads in India?
5) What is the advantage of pipelines in India?
6) Why is inland water transport losing its importance now a days?
7) What do you mean by STD? What is its importance?
8) Why is air transport not popular in India?
9) What is the part played by radio as a communication media?
10) What are the programmes launched by television for general public?
11) What is dredging? Where is it important?
12) What is E-mail?
13) What are the main functions of Border Road Development Authority and what is its greatest achievement?

V Answer the following questions in 4 to 5 sentences each:
1) “Roads have more advantages than railways” How?
2) What are the steps taken to modernize our railways?
3) What is internet?
4) What is the importance of news papers?

VI Answer the following questions in about 8 to 10 sentences each:
1) Which are the different types of water transport ? What is the need for water transport in India?
2) Explain the importance of any four ports on the East Coast of India.
Jaydeep Mehta,
9 Jul 2012, 05:09