STUDENTS' CORNER - 167
In this session, let us look into the merits and demerits of Road Transport.
To begin with the merits, the advantages of Road Transport:
Compared with the investment to be made in the infrastructure for a railway line or even an airport, we do not generally need so much for laying the roads. So, roads are in a way we can say are cheaper than the railway tracks and airport.
By the very nature of the structure, roads can reach even a small village; in fact, road transport actually connects many villages to a nearby city and this connectivity boosts the local business and therefore the local economy. Neither the trains nor the aircraft can claim this simple advantage. A postman can come to a lonely house to a remote interior village on his bi-cycle; even by foot.
Of course, you cannot expect a postman cycle a long distance of about, say 10 kms to hand over a parcel. In other words, road transport is convenient for a short distance. Indeed, with upgradation of the road infrastructure, about 500 + kms distance is also covered by road transport.
With regard to employment opportunities, road transport has greater possibilities than the aviation and shipping. There is great scope in road transport for more unskilled common laborers but in the other two, it is not so. Moreover, it is practical experience that road transport comes handy to reach a railway station or an airport; it provides a sort of feeder service.
No private players are generally seen in aviation and shipping sectors; of course, now with the changing scenario in the national economy, there are some private players in the railways and there are some private airlines. Without any doubt, there are more private entrepreneurs in road transport.
Today, many have begun to talk about the importance of multi-modal transport involving, that is, all the modes of transport, land, air and water.
Now, to disadvantage of the Road Transport
Accidents on the road claim thousands of lives every year in India. Reasons are many which we cannot discuss here. One of the major reasons is road-users are said to be indifferent to rules; they drink and drive; they talk in cell phones and drive; they do not follow the rules; they overtake on the left even on the bridges; they overload when they drive; on a two wheeler, four people ride, so on. Of course governments are taking steps to reduce the road accidents.
Road-transport proves a source of much air pollution; today, there is so much talk about Climate change, a huge topic. And increasing cost of petrol and diesel is a great disadvantage; but it is disadvantage to all the modes of transport indeed.
In our next session, we shall spend some time on Indian transport infrastructure.
2. Inadequate Roads:
Most of the roads are in bad shape and are inadequate. There are only 34 km long roads per 100 sq. km area in India while in Japan 270 km roads per 100 sq. km.
3. Heavy Taxes:
There is heavy tax burden on motor transport in India. Tax burden per motor vehicle in India is Rs. 3500 while in America it is Rs. 860.
4. Poor Maintenance of Roads:
Roads are not maintained properly in India. Less than 0.1 percent of national income is spent on the maintenance of roads in India, while in Japan it is 3 percent of the national income.
5. Rising Cost of Petrol and Diesel:
Due to high prices of petroleum products and diesel, operational costs of road transport are rising and making the mode of transport more costlier.
6. Unsuitable for Long Distances and Bulky Goods:
Road transport is unsuitable for long distances as it is uncomfortable as compared to railways. It is also not suitable for bulky goodss: