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TRIPURA-CPI(M) Digs In

performance of health and employment generation schemes, besides overall development programmes. The ministry's annual report, for instance, points out that there has been slow growth of road length in comparison to the growth of vehicles. The share of transport in the five-year plans has come down from 22 per cent in the First Plan to 12.5 in the Eighth Plan. National highways which constitute 2 per cent of the network and carry 40 per cent of the road traffic, account for 0.5 per cent of the Eighth Plan allocation. Even in the states, expenditure on development of national highways has dwindled over the last few years as, surprisingly, has maintenance expenditure. The government thus appears to have withdrawn from the sector even before private investment has taken its place. This does not mean, however, that funds are being diverted to smaller road systems serving economically unimportant regions outside the range of private interests. Neither the research and development efforts nor the major proposals being mooted appear to have given much thought to the development of minor road systems.

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