There is an increasing scarcity of traditional road construction material in India. In addition are the high costs of transporting construction materials, rampant environmental degradation, as well as climate change impacts. There is a need to explore the increased use and mainstreaming of more sustainable road construction materials and technologies in rural roads in India. This would help focus on climate change mitigation and adaptation aspects, and generate significant positive economic benefits.
The Central Government and several State Governments in India have already started taking initiatives in this direction. The Ministry of Rural Development has issued Guidelines for a mandatory use of innovative and green construction material and technology for 15% of the roads in the PMGSY programme. Active discussions are also on for increasing this to 30% in the next phases. Several other states are mandating similar targets.
Many of the local/marginal materials require additional research before they can be used on a wider scale in India, which should be done through full-scale trial sections. Techniques for monitoring and evaluating the results from such trialswould be critical to their sustained long-term use. The success of such a framework would, at its core, require developing a programme of research and a new approach to training of engineers that would involve creation of national and state-level “champions” through specific and sustained training.This paper aims to elaborate on such a framework. It is relevant to theme 7: “Sustainable and Green Transport Infrastructure” and sub-theme “Impact of Using Local/Marginal Materials”.