In its endeavour to provide world-class national highways network to the country the National Highways Authority of India (NHAI) has approached all Indian Institutes of Technology (IIT), National Institutes of Technology (NIT) and reputed engineering colleges to collaborate and adopt nearby stretches of the national highway, voluntarily, as part of its institutional social responsibility (ISR). The objective is to leverage the intellectual prudence of students and faculty towards the improvement of the road infrastructure ecosystem.
The institutes along with the faculty and students had a better appreciation of local requirements, topography, resource potential, etc., and these vital inputs could be utilised by NHAI during different stages of pre-construction, construction and operation of national highway stretch. This decentralised approach, besides building a sense of participation in decision making, would also provide an opportunity to the students for hands-on-learning, option for internship and future areas of research. The adoption of a stretch by an institute opened avenues for access to important data, which could be used to improve the quality and safety aspects of national highways and enhance the local capacity of the institute in terms of advanced lab and stimulation systems.
The adoption of a national highway stretch by an institute would facilitate stakeholder engagement and help to mitigate the routine local problems such as traffic movement, congestion and immediate identification of accident-prone sites. The highway users become more empowered in resolving local problems through the institute and NHAI. Such instances would help NHAI in understanding the local needs both in the present and future projects, improve the maintenance and riding comfort and develop wayside amenities for enhanced user experience.
Several IITs, NITs and engineering colleges have opted to join the scheme and NHAI officers have started mutual consultation with directors of the interested institutes. MoUs are being signed between the individual Institutes and NHAI for institutionalisation of the scheme and bring reformative improvements in the road infrastructure of the country.