New Delhi: Travelling on the highways is set to be a smoother and more interesting affair — a la ‘Rajmarg villages’ based on the concept of rest areas will soon be seen dottiing highways across the country. As per plans, every 50 km will be equipped with plush motels, bazaars, branded restaurants, fuel stations, kids’ playground, and in some places, a helipad.
According to a plan being finalised by the Road Transport and Highways Ministry, the Rajmarg villages would cater to car and bus passengers as well as truckers.
The ministry has worked out three options — a combined facility for truckers and bus and car passengers which will also have a provision of helipad — a separate one for “bus and car users” and one for “truckers.”
As per a ministry official 425 sites along highways are being earmarked of which 167 are being considered for development of such wayside villages.
Of the 167 sites, 33 have already been identified. These include seven in Bengaluru on NH-4, NH-63, NH-13 and NH-7; 6 sites in Chennai — on NH-7, 49 and 205 and 6 sites around Lucknow along NH-2, NH-28 and NH-25.
Besides necessary facilities like toilets and parking, these halting or resting points will also offer recreational options for weary travellers and provide options for a short stay.
Along with CNG stations and battery chargers, these rest areas will also be used to promote environment-friendly vehicles on highways.
Internet facilities, conference halls for meetings, child care facilities, kiosks, ATMs and First Aid Centres would also be available.
“The idea is not only to provide various facilities in close proximity but to also generate local employment. These will be well-planned roadside villages which will offer a pleasant experience to the traveller,” an official said.
The ministry has assigned the task to the National Highways Authority of India (NHAI) and to the Indian Highways Management Company Limited (IHMCL) to develop these facilities, the official added.