Even as states race to denotify state highways as ‘urban roads’, Maharashtra, home of roads and highways minister Nitin Gadkari, managed to get 65% of all sanctioned upgrades of state highways into national highways last year.

According to year-end data prepared by the roads and highways ministry, 8,002 km of state highways in the state were approved for promotion during the year that ended last month.

Across India, a total of 12,289 km of state highways were approved for approval — nearly four times the number for the previous year that was 3,180 km.

The biggest increase was seen in Maharashtra, which had seen upgrades of only 387 km in 2015-16 and 737 km in the preceding year.

Maharashtra also led in terms of the value of the contracts awarded during the just-concluded year. The region got highway projects worth Rs 26,769 cr in the year, which comes to about half of the 53,264 cr total value of projects awarded across India.

The runner-up in terms of upgrades was Madhya Pradesh, which saw 2,660 km, and the third was Telangana, with 700 km (see chart on top).

State highways are upgraded if the central ministry feels that doing so will bring economic growth and prosperity, ease vehicular congestion or otherwise help meet strategic goals.

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