?Our roads don'thave a few potholes?, Prime Minister Vajpayee once complained to aides in the later part of 1990s. ?Our potholes have a few roads?.
He announced the launch of the Golden Quadrilateral scheme of joining the four major cities of India with a unique roadways system, which according to Don Belt of the National Geographic, is exceeded in scale only by the national railway system built by the British in 1850s.
?Ten years after Vajpayee'sannounced (in 1998), the GQ is among the most elaborately conceived highway systems in the world, a master-piece of high-tech ingenuity that is, in many ways, a calling card for India in the 21st century.?
?Seen on a 48-inch flat-screen computer monitor at the highway administrative headquarters in Delhi, the GQ seems as beautiful as a space capsule. Its designers describe it as an ?elegant collection of data points? or a gleaming, ?state-of-the-art machine?, a technologically advanced conveyor belt moving goods and people around India with seamless precision.?
?The National Geographic adds: It is easy to be swept up in their enthusiasm for a system so technologically advanced that one day, any rupture in the pavement could be detected by sensors and maintenance crews dispatched; where tolls would be computerised and instantly tabulated against long-term projections, where accidents trigger an instant response from nearby emergency team. And there is no doubt that the highway and the development it has generated have quickened the pulse of the nation, boosted traffic volume, and brought millions of workers pouring into medium-size and large cities from the country side.?
One may recall that after the scheme was launched by Atalji, his Minister of Transport, Maj.Gen(Retd) Bhuvan Chandra Khandoori (now the Chief Minister of Uttarakhand) implemented the project till the end of the NDA rule in 2004. Work on it is still continuing under the UPA regime.
National Geographic says that the 3633-mile expressway is part of the largest and the most ambitious public infrastructure project in the country'shistory, one with a social engineering goal at its heart.