India is one of the developing countries, needless to say, that there have been major advancements in the fields of education, space, technology and industrialization.
The Indian economy is booming and is expected to grow at a rate of 7%. As per the World Bank data, India secured the sixth position of being the largest economy in 2017 by surpassing France. There have been forecasts that it will soon go past the UK which stands at the fifth position.
Though the Indian government is trying very hard to fill the deficit of advancement to compete at the global stage there are many challenges internally which are not yet addressed. This is the reason why the people and the country as a whole are suffering. There are issues like water, road, and electricity problems. There are times these are looked into and there are times when they are just given a ‘Chalta Hai’ attitude.
One such problem that is quite evident is the roads of India. India is known to have extensive roadwork only after the US. The vast network of the roads sprawl over 5.5 kilometres, transport 64.5% of goods and 90% of passengers across the country on a daily basis. There are also 53 national highways which contribute towards 40% of the road traffic. These are some great figures, isn’t it! Despite such attractive numbers, there are 25% of villages which have poor road services. And the worst part is that there is no one looking into this problem. The rural areas are worse hit and on top of that during the monsoons, many roads literally get ripped off.
While the problem is still evident, Nemkumar Bhantia, a professor in the Civil Engineering Department at the University of British Columbia (UBC) in Canada is working towards the betterment of the roads in the rural area. The IIT Delhi graduate has come up with self-repairing roads. These are economical, cost-effective and sustainable.
These roads were first built at the UCB. It uses a high strength of concrete and special fibres. This is one of its kind roads in Karnataka. The usual road has concrete in it, but Bhantia’s self-repairing road consists of 40% cement and 60% fly ash. The special fibres used have a hydrophilic coating which accumulates the rainwater. This, in turn, is the key to the self-repairing roads. When cracks appear on the road, the stored water gives rise to the hydration capability to the cement, thereby, producing silicate particles which eventually heal the crack before they grow.
Is the road self-sufficient to last long? Yes, the self-repairing roads have longevity and are expected to last for around 15 years. Now, this is some achievement when compared to the rural roads which breakdown in every 2-3 years.
This project is indeed a blessing for people in the rural areas who lack the privileges of the urban regions. It will also increase the accessibility to remote areas of the country and can be implemented in almost all the regions of the country.
Nemkumar Bhantia’s contribution has proved to be successful after being monitored during the summer and monsoon to make sure it lasted despite the irregular weather conditions. His passion to find a solution to one of the most challenging problems of the country has earned him fame and name.
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