Farmers owning 2-5 acres along national highways can develop these land parcels into a `highway nest' or `highway village' with prescribed services ranging from quality food to clean toilets and comfortable resting facilities for travellers. NHAI will allow access to these facilities from highways and help land owners get the land use changed from `agriculture' to `commercial' category.
“We will only be a facilitator. NHAI will pursue the case for setting up of fuel stations at these locations. These facilities will get the NHAI brand name and will have to comply with the service-level benchmark. We are not charging anything from them,“ highways minister Nitin Gadkari said on Thursday while launching the initiative to make farmland owners a part of the highway success story.
These facilities will come up every 40 km. NHAI targets to set up 700-800 such facilities in the next one and a half years. Unlike western countries, most of the highway stretches in India lack good amenities for commuters. Gadkari said tourists have a harrowing experience when they don't find a good resting place even on tourist circuits.
NHAI chairman Deepak Kumar said they have floated tenders for similar facilities where land is available with NHAI. The authority will set up 200 such facilities along NHs on franchise model and these will be operational in the next one year, he said.
Highways secretary Y S Malik said the new facilities will offer an additional option to commuters to the existing `dhabas'. “Only 30% of the land parcel will have construction and the rest will be circulation areas. People can park their vehicle comfortably and take a break,“ he said.
Interested farmers will have to give the option based on the size of land. NHAI will chose land parcels which have more frontage areas on the NH. “The land owners have to invest and NHAI won't be involved in any manner,“ an official said.
The NHAI chief said bigger land parcels will be qualified for highway village, which will have more facilities including rooms for short stay for passengers and dormitories for drivers, minor workshops for repair and village haat. Smaller plots will get the tag of `nest' with relatively less facilities.