Wednesday, January 10, 2007

yet another highway project? what happened to the last one?

jan 10th, 2007
of course, the UPA doesn't want the Golden Quadrilateral to succeed because the NDA thought it up. so now they are looking for alternatives to get bribes. has any significant transportation initiative come together under UPA rule? maybe the long-awaited bangalore airport. the NDA did bring up the delhi metro and the GQ, i believe.
incidentally, there is no point building a highway in kerala. first, there is no land, and the agitation by landowners will tie this up in knots for decades in courts. the idea of a 'superhighway' in kerala has already been tried and rejected (it was principally a mechanism for oommen chandy to make more money on the side). second, there isn't enough demand: most of the movement is of people, not freight, as it's a service economy, not manufacturing, and increasing de-agriculturized.
so i think it would be better to concentrate on multi-modal transport: use the inland waterways in kerala along with the newly electrified and doubled rail lines. water-borne cargo is far cheaper to ship than road-borne cargo. ship containers on cargo barges and railroads and hook them up to road termini where needed.
the inland waterways in kerala used to be quite navigable all the way from trivandrum to cochin. the only gap is in the varkala area, where a tunnel needs to be rehabilitated.
anybody living the great lakes areas in the US, isn't there still an enormous amount of water-borne freight movement there? not so much in the sacramento delta, though.
it makes sense to connect bangalore, chennai, hyderabad and pune by fast expressways (see, the malaysians think pune is part of south india :-) as the deccan has plenty of spare land.
although i am not keen on the malaysians. bloody mohammedan bigots. but it'd be good to have their projects and investments in india that can be held hostage if they misbehave.

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