India is proposing to introduce a new stiff clause in highway contracts that will make it mandatory for developers to provide facilities for drivers, called highway villages, on the lines of international norms.
Detailed project reports (DPRs) for all upcoming highways and expressways will have a mandatory provision to include highway villages. A specialized wing would be set up at the National Highways Authority of India to spearhead this concept.
Highway villages would be set up on 75 to 100 hectares, for which land would be acquired through pooling and the land owners made partners in the project. These villages will provide amenities such as handicrafts showrooms, food courts, dispensaries, ATMs, child care areas, car washing and servicing units, internet facilities, coffee shops along with book stores and other tourist facilities. Private companies will also be invited to set up their stores.
The government is proposing to build over 50,000 km of new highways and more than 16,000 km of expressways in coming years. All these upcoming road networks would have such villages. All express highways, as per the international standards, need to have such amenities as they are access controlled. But the government wants such facilities alongside national highways as well. Every 200 km on national highways would have a village run on solar energy.