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India's Road To The Future 278

Posted by Zonk
from the concrete-as-metaphor dept.
Paul 03244 writes "Historians, economists and technologists agree that movement of ideas, goods and services are fundamental to trade & advancement of the human condition. Today's online version of the NYT has a rather lengthy but fascinating article on the construction of a modern highway system in India that details some of the social & cultural changes being brought about by this highway project." Interesting to look at the parallels between the spread of tech and services in India and the same process in the U.S.
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India's Road To The Future

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  • Highways were first thought up by Hitler to aid the Blitzkrieg technique and move armies and supplies quickly around Germany. He correctly imagined that the bottleneck in modern industrial warfare was not in the factory at all but in the delivery in the goods to the battlefield.

    Truman developed the US highway system to prepare for war with the USSR. The long east-west highways would be the long supply chains bringing supplies from northeastern factories (i.e. Detroit) to the Western front/staging area in
    • by Scoth (879800) on Sunday December 04, 2005 @04:59PM (#14180329)
      Close, but no cigar:
      http://www.snopes.com/autos/law/airstrip.asp [snopes.com]

      The highways/interstates were never intended as landing strips. Besides, when's the last time you heard of traffic being shut down/diverted for the practice landings?
    • "Highways out west were designed to be wide enough and have a long enough straight line to allow for a B52 bomber to land and be refueled."

      The bad thing about American highways, which the Germans avoided, is long straight roads. In comparison the German highway system generally followed the contour and lay of the land. This helps prevent boredom and drivers falling asleep. Then again, highways going out west is going to pass through some pretty flat, straight stretches. So I guess some of it was prett

    • For Hitler, the biggest problem was a lack of energy and manufacturing capacity. By the end of the war, the Germans had very advanced tech, but only a handful of each unit. Highways are useless if you have no goods to move along them and no gasoline to put into your trucks.

      If I were planning a logistical system for use in a future war, I would try to use rail as much as possible. Rails have far higher capacity than roads and they use only a small fraction of the fuel of roads. While global warming is a mino
      • Rails have far higher capacity than roads and they use only a small fraction of the fuel of roads.

        Rail was used extensively for moving materials in previous wars. Rail is good as a backbone, for constantly moving large amounts of materials through secured terrain (eg heavy equipment from the midwest to coastal harbors). Rail does not give you the flexibility of motor transport, requires constant control (two trains on the same track = bad), and an existing secure infrastructure (you need trucks on the f
      • it should be noted that India does have one of the world's largest railway system (5th as per most statistics). But it is still insufficient for the purposes of trade or transportation of goods.

        from wikipedia: "It is also one of the largest and busiest rail networks in the world, transporting just under five billion passengers and almost 350 million tonnes of freight annually. IR is the world's largest commercial or utility employer, with more than 1.6 million employees."

        Some statistics [diehardindian.com]
        Wikipedia art [wikipedia.org]
    • by voss (52565) on Sunday December 04, 2005 @05:14PM (#14180416)
      Many of Americas highways were built BEFORE WWII. The interstates may have been a defense related project but the Turnpikes werent. Commerce is a far bigger motivating factor than war. War is often just the
      excuse to get the road built then the military abandons it.

      And you are wrong about Hitler, the Autobahn projects were actually started (1926) BEFORE hitler came to power and Hitler didnt think of them he had really nothing to do with their conception. The first autobahn was started in 1929 and was completed in 1932 BEFORE hitler came to power. Oddly enough the war actually STOPPED contruction of the autobahn.
    • Thats a common belief, but the US Interstate system was being planned during the 1930s, but other capital dam projects tied up men and concreate. Then the Second World War hit and the plan was shelved again.

      The Autobahn as a tool of the Blitzkrieg sounds good, but in fact they were thought up in the 1920s in Germany and Switzerland and they were limited in scope even during the build up of the 1930s. The first section from Frankfurt am Main to Darmstadt opening in 1935. This straight section was used for hi
      • Facts on /.? Now for some more info...
        Albert Speer's department worked with automotive engineers under direction of Ferdinand Porsche to change the rules about what a highway should be. They did the tables of calculations for the slant of the road as well much work on bridges and grade refinements. At the time a major state road in rural US areas would consists of two lanes with about a 1 ft grass median and there were a few multi-lane highways but all the others were just built like a typical paved stre
    • A little offtopic, but does anyone remember that homemade film released in the early days of DivX ;) where there was some guy driving on a highway with no trafic only to be landed on by a plane ? The highway was cleared out because the Boeing had to make an emergency landing... The name of the film was something like "highway 411" or something like this. I can't finding back even with the omniscient google :(
    • by Compuser (14899) on Sunday December 04, 2005 @06:16PM (#14180757)
      The idea of building roads to aid movement of military units and
      war-related shipments is rather old. The Romans built the roads
      in Europe for that purpose. Indeed, it was the Roman army that
      did most of the building. So ascribing this idea to Hitler is a bit
      much. In fact, had this been Hitler's thinking, he would have never
      invaded the Soviet Union, since that place had a lot of land and only
      a few very bad roads. Many of those roads would become impassable
      during rains so fall through spring the road system was terrible
      and merely usable in the summer. So no, Hitler as visionary of road
      building is kind of a laugh.
      • "So ascribing this idea to Hitler is a bit much."

        I never ascribed roads to Hitler. I only ascribed modern highway systems to him. Highways offer incredible flexilibty over the modern tech of the day: railroads. As other posters pointed out railways and long trains are subject to bombing, and the railway has to be repairs. Automobiles are fairly flexible and can easily be diverted around a crater. Plus, automobiles are ultimately what will deliver supplies to the front lines, so you don't necessarily incur
    • Off topic I always wondered about post WWII suburbs:
      Right after WWII, a war marked by bombings of cities with both nuclear and convential bombs from both sides (London Blitz, firebombing of Dresden, Hiroshima & Nagasaki among many,many others) that the U.S. built its highway system and also developed suburbs all along the highways. The suburbs made it harder to wipe out a city's population as they were now more spread out. This probably helped national security though I do not know if suburbs were a del
  • No Open Defecation By 2010 [bbc.co.uk]. Puts a whole new spin on the phrase "outsourcing".
  • Corruption... ? (Score:4, Interesting)

    by geneing (756949) on Sunday December 04, 2005 @04:51PM (#14180289)
    I came across an article in the Economist. They are much more cautious about the economic development in India. They mention corruption, bureaucracy, strong communist parties in parliament as the major threats. I'm hoping that someone with first hand experience could say more about this...
    • Re:Corruption... ? (Score:3, Insightful)

      by toetagger1 (795806)
      To your point of corruption & bureaucracy, it doesn't seem to have stopped the US, so why should this stop India?
      • Re:Corruption... ? (Score:5, Interesting)

        by CodeBuster (516420) on Sunday December 04, 2005 @07:34PM (#14181150)
        The corruption and bureaucracy in India was legendary before the reforms of the early 1990s...just ask any adult Indian living in India today about the "permit raj" and you will know exactly what I am talking about. I once saw a picture of an Indian government permit office, you used to need a permit to do practicaly anything business related in India, where there were three lines stretching from three windows out to eternity with overworked clerks sorting through stacks of paper that reached from the floor to the ceiling in large bundles. In fact, it was so bad that practically every permit was procured by a bribe because it was impossible to work with the system and people had to work around it. Things have gotten better by all acounts since Mahmoud Singh turned things around. There is corruption here in the US to be sure, but compared to many other places in the world we have a remarkably well run and honest government bureaucracy. So the long answer to your question is that it can stop India if they let it get out of control again.

        Chapter 4: India's Permit Raj 3:04 [pbs.org]
        • In Texas, when one is stopped for speeding, they have the option to take a defensive driving course to get out of the ticket. (This is a state law). Upon completion of the course, the ticket will be dismissed. However, one still has to pay "court fees" even though there is no court appearance.

          To a typical scenario is as follows:

          1) J. Doe gets stopped in a small town for going 65 in a 55.
          2) J. Doe sends check/money order of ~$100 to small town court.
          3) J. Doe takes defensive driving course...
          4) Ticket dism
          • It's an openly made, legally authorized payment, to the government, not to an individual. Your statement makes me think you have no idea what real bribery is. When a country is infected with bribery, nothing works well. Every civil servant is out for himself.
        • Re:Corruption... ? (Score:2, Interesting)

          by bakerst (751971)
          I think corruption and bureaucracy are still endemic but there have been a number of areas that the bureaucrats could not get their hands on - for e.g. the IT industry; by the time the politicians and bureaucrats could understand it, it had taken off, greatly aided by the fact that it involved non-physical goods. The larger problem is the law enforcement system which is still controlled by the politicians and hence not effective. Having a good legal system framework is beneficial but is not seen to be worki
        • Not Mahmoud Singh.. (Score:4, Informative)

          by Pranjal (624521) on Sunday December 04, 2005 @11:58PM (#14182587)
          The correct name is Manmohan Singh who was the finance minister at the time when reforms were kicked off and is currently the prime minister of India.
      • by mckyj57 (116386) on Sunday December 04, 2005 @09:19PM (#14181696)
        You have no idea what corruption is if you think the U.S. is corrupt. In general, the U.S. is the least corrupt large country ever seen.

        I have a friend who came from India, and when he got here I asked him the question I ask all new arrivals to the U.S. -- "What surprised you most about the U.S. when you got here?" His answer was, "The honesty and integrity of your government."

        He offered this story:

                I went to the Social Security office on my second day here. I
                got in line, and right behind me walked in a businessman in
                a fine suit. I automatically got out of his way to let him
                go to the front of the line, but he said "No, of course not.
                You were here first."

                Then I started looking at the line in front of me. There were
                about five people, and first in line there was an obvious wino.
                When he got to the window, he had trouble stating his need and
                the clerk patiently helped him fill out his form.

                I got my documents in 15 minutes with no difficulty at
                all, and I was treated kindly and respectfully.

                I was thunderstruck. In India, to get official documents like
                this without a month or more of wait, you must pay off the
                local officials. The size of the baksheesh determines how much
                priority you will get -- if you don't pay enough right away,
                you will be sent away with another form to fill out.
                Eventually, you will get your documents. A rich businessman
                goes to the front of the line, pays his greater amount of
                baksheesh, and gets the papers immediately with no question.

                Later I found out that it would be foolish to even offer
                baksheesh here. You might get worse service because you
                had attempted to bribe the official, or even potentially
                arrested for attempted bribery.

                This attitude pervades your people and gives them a
                confidence and power most of our people cannot have.

        I will not make the blanket statement that there is no wrongdoing in
        our government, but our government is certainly not corrupt in the
        sense that almost all but a few Western European and Nort American
        governments are corrupt. Corruption pervades, wrongdoing is isolated.
        The U.S. is not corrupt.
        • I do realize I grew up in the western hemosphere, and am accustomed to a world without corruption. Or so it seems. I agree that the individual government worker in the US is, on the average, is less likely to be corrupt than in India.

          At the same time, if you look beyond the individual worker, and the select few that make and shape policy, it is very possible to argue that the US is more corrupt than India. If you look at the influences of 3rd parties on government decissions in the US, it becomes quickly ap
          • At the same time, if you look beyond the individual worker, and the select few that make and shape policy, it is very possible to argue that the US is more corrupt than India. If you look at the influences of 3rd parties on government decissions in the US, it becomes quickly apparant how the government may not be corrupt in its foundations, but in its design outright.

            How so? Wasn't the checks and balances system designed to give the government a measure of resistance to influence from third parties? In

            • My point in short: The US can claim to have less corruption than most other contries, because they redefined the term. By "legalizing" corruption by incorporating a "controlled outlet" there is not as much need for "illegal" corruption.

              So if you use the same defintion of corruption and compre US to India, then you will most definately arrive at the conclusions that you have made. If you compare $ spent on influencing government decisions (or to be more fair, % of GDP), then I'm almost certain that the US by
              • Let me ask, what about the non so outright corrution?

                First, "non-outright corruption is difficult to measure, seeing as how, by definition, its magnitude is hidden.

                Second, the fact that the outright corruption here has a measure of stigma attached to it means that the US is resisting corruption better than most other areas of the world. Minor corruption is endemic everywhere, but there is still a sense of outrage at it here in the USA, while, in many other places (esp. India and other third-world count

                • I agree with your point, but in the end, it is still corrupion. Decissions are made in the favor of the wealthy few, instead of the interest of society as a whole. And as long as wealth isn't equaly distributed across society, this is likely to continue, whether you are in the US or India. Whether you have an "accpetable" way to buy your influence, or if it has to be done under the counter, doesn't really matter.

                  As far as exposing it, and giving people visibility to it, is something that makes it a bit more
    • Re:Corruption... ? (Score:5, Informative)

      by metlin (258108) on Sunday December 04, 2005 @05:55PM (#14180645) Journal
      Yeah, there is a significant amount of corruption and bureacracy in the system, but for the most part, privitization has helped cut down on that significantly.

      However, there is no real strong "communist" party in India - the existing government is being supported by the Communist Party of India, they have minimal say. The thing is, until about 30 years ago, India and the Soviet Union were fairly close. And as a newly independent nation, a government that had equal parts public and private sectors seemed like a good idea at the time.

      However, gradually, the public sectors began to be privatized. Sure, the Communist party of India occasionally throws a tantrum, but nobody listens to them anyway. If at all, they have some semblance of power in all of two states, only one of which is consistent.

      To be fair, there are some politicians who're above this, and who really understand technology and the need. For instance, the President is a rocket scientist (quite literally) and the Prime Minister is a renowned economist (he was awarded his Ph.D. in economics from Oxford and has been a professor of economics).

      Of course, like any system, there are corrupt folks, and folks who refuse to change or adapt to the new system, particularly since it undermines their power and authority. But most of these are at the state level, and the Central (equivalent of Federal) government has a lot more power, and is a lot cleaner, too (relatively speaking, of course).

      So, to answer your question - there is some definite corruption and bureacracy, but it's on the decline. More privatization and media exposures have largely made it harder, and folks who're at the helm are a lot more knowledgeable and capable.

      Here's hoping for a better India in the days to come! :)
      • Re:Corruption... ? (Score:3, Interesting)

        by metlin (258108)
        And I must also mention that the left in India isn't left by a lot of standards (i.e. say, Europe). In some policies, they are quite centric and are even fiscally conservative. And in certain issues, such as privatization of all government assets, they tend to hold more leftist views.
      • For instance, the President is a rocket scientist (quite literally) and the Prime Minister is a renowned economist (he was awarded his Ph.D. in economics from Oxford and has been a professor of economics).

        Sounds like they're in the cat-bird seat. Maybe we should outsource our government to India?
    • Re:Corruption... ? (Score:3, Informative)

      by rite_m (787216)
      First hand experience from an Indian..

      Corruption and bureaucracy are there. But we don't really worry about the communists so much. Their say is limited to their ruling states of West Bengal and Kerala. Also, even though they are part of the ruling coalition, everyone knows that they cannot withdraw the support to the government as they fear the opposition parties (BJP et al) coming to helm.

      The recently [persmin.nic.in] enforced Right to Information Act [rti.gov.in] should help us alot in fighting corruption and red-tape.

    • Corruption in much of India is pretty endemic at all government levels. I think it's somewhat different from Western standards of "corruption" though..it's different standards.

      As an example, frequently cited is corruption on the local level--ie, if your house gets broken into, you go to police, you get told wait in line (which can be LONG--India has a HUGE bureaucracy, and for the most part, a well running one). However if you slip the person a some money, well there you go, head of the queue. Baksheesh. It
    • They are much more cautious about the economic development in India. They mention corruption, bureaucracy, strong communist parties in parliament as the major threats.

      1. Do not believe everything The Economist prints.

      2. Corruption is an issue in most developing countries.

      3. Bureaucracy is as good or bad as any other country.

      Communist parties frequently act as the checks-&-balances in the Indian political process - opposition to the extreme right political parties, opposition to the selling o
  • They should note that it was in the Times, not just the online edition. Some stories do only make the online edition, this one was published. It makes a difference, and should be noted. But hey, it's /., so we should just be happy its not a dupe, eh?
  • It's a fairly good article really, and a lesson the ancient Romans taught the world. Having a reliable, fast public road system is critical for the rest of society to build on. From Africa to Asia, economic prosperity is dependant on and will literally follow the road made available to it.

    Yes roads will shape the dynamics of communities, they will change, remove and add culture, but the greater of the whole will benefit for it. It's called progress, things change, get over it. It's good to see the road ac

  • Monsoon Railway (Score:5, Interesting)

    by matt me (850665) on Sunday December 04, 2005 @05:02PM (#14180354)
    If you do ever get the chance to see this documentary, do!

    It's called Monsoon Railway and documents how the staff at one station do their best to make the best out of a imposibly overcrowded and out-dated system through one seasons. It's incredibly uplifting. The people work through the night to keep it going. They have hospital trains manned with volunteers to send out in the event of any accident. There's one guy has only the smallest crummiest room himself to live in, but he feels so priveleged that he makes a shelter with his hands for the Indian railway children.

    Seriously, if you think there's no hope, no ove, no humanity in this world, watch it. If you feel the third world is corrupt, hopeless not somewhere you can connect with, you're wrong. It made me want to travel, just to meet those people who commit such acts of kindness as if there was no other choice.

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/bbcfour/documentaries/feature s/monsoon-railway.shtml [bbc.co.uk]
    http://www.bbc.co.uk/bbcfour/documentaries/feature s/photogallery/indian_rail1.shtml [bbc.co.uk]
  • But the temple and tree thwart even greater speed, and a passing contractor says they soon will be removed.

    Kali, Hindu goddess of destruction, thinks otherwise.

    Just a bit Ironic, eh?

  • But India's highway system also allows it to have an HIV rate comparable to south africa. Married truckers, truck stop hoes, and long routes have lead to an epidemic spread of the virus. Go figure. I'm glad condoms are $1 in the US, where a dollar doesn't matter.
  • Good to hear. (Score:5, Interesting)

    by jo7hs2 (884069) on Sunday December 04, 2005 @05:51PM (#14180611) Homepage
    I am a big believer in India, rather than China being the country to watch for growth and development. A great deal of this surrounds India's legal system, which closely follows the English common-law system, with a great respect for precedent and contract law. Take a look at the econmic success of both the U.K. and the United States, and you can clearly see the benefits of this system.
    • Re:Good to hear. (Score:3, Interesting)

      by AtomicBomb (173897)
      I am also a firm believer that legal system is crucial to the development of a modern country. It is a bit political incorrect. But, I have to say the importance for the respect of the legal system (ie, rule by the laws, everyone is equal in front of law) is probably way higher than that of a democratic government structure. Let's do the exercise: which one of the major industrialised nation (France, Germany, Japan, UK, US) has universal suffrage at the stage when the economy took off? Check wikipedia [wikipedia.org]..
  • Capitalism Works? (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Dausha (546002) on Sunday December 04, 2005 @06:07PM (#14180708) Homepage
    FTFA: "The real start came in 1991, when India began dismantling its state-run economy and opening its markets to foreign imports and investment."

    So, what you're saying is that when India ditched Socialism and hopped on the Capitalist highway, then their economy really picked up speed? Fancy that. Next you'll be telling me that China abandoned Communism and became one of the world's fastest growing economies. Of course, adopt a bloated welfare/medical system, and there goes growth.
    • China is slowly becoming more open and democratic. They may say they are communist, but they are not as communist as they used to be.

      As a very big example: they recently allowed people to own land (sometime in the last year).

      Personally, I think China will always be "communist". They will just get closer and closer to a market economy and maybe even a democracy until it is almost a meaningless label. In other words, they won't go all at once, it will be slow but steady. To use a Simpsons line: "FOX became

    • Re:Capitalism Works? (Score:4, Interesting)

      by mochan_s (536939) on Sunday December 04, 2005 @07:49PM (#14181224)
      FTFA: "The real start came in 1991, when India began dismantling its state-run economy and opening its markets to foreign imports and investment."

      This is a very bad simplification. When the British left India, it was in tatters. One of the prime push of India after independence was to develop all technology locally and rebuild the society. After they reached the point in development where they knew that the "state-run economy" was more of a hinderance than a help, they slowly started making change.

      It wasn't that they just became enlightened at a certain point to capitalism. It was before that point capitalism wasn't the best way of doing things.

    • Re:Capitalism Works? (Score:3, Informative)

      by metlin (258108)
      Actually, India was never socialist in the sense that you are speaking of. Nor was it ever a welfare state - basically, it was divided into public and private sectors, where the government controlled several core infrastructures in the public sectors. For instance, India has never had a state medical system - sure, there are state hospitals - but still, majority of the medical system in the country has always been privatized.

      Anyway, this division made sense at the time of independence because as a newly bor
      • basically, it was divided into public and private sectors, where the government controlled several core infrastructures in the public sectors.

        To paraphrase TN Seshan on this, there's never been a good reason why the government has had to make condoms, for instance. And let's not even get into the whole shebang of respective state governments making television sets, scooters, refrigerators, cars, watches, milk-based products, bread, hotels, restaurants and so on, so forth. And even in the few places wher

  • The intensity of the issues mentioned here is less in South India. If you encounter 10 cows driving 150 kilometers in North India, you would only encounter 1 cow driving that far in South India.
  • Why not more rail? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by putko (753330) on Sunday December 04, 2005 @06:15PM (#14180752) Homepage Journal
    Does anyone -- perhaps an Indian -- know why India is building roads, and not rail?

    If they built rail, they could transport more goods and people at a lower cost -- but with greater latency and planning required.

    Because India is a poor country, don't they need more bang for their transportation buck, and not necessarily more convenience? Are they at least going to make the people who use the roads responsible for paying for them -- e.g. the cars and (especially) trucks that wear them out?

    Why would they want to commit to a gas-based transportaiton system when, if they built trains, they could generate electricity and use that to power most of their transportation?

    This looks like pretty bad public policy.
    • India already has a major and extensive rail system (one of the world's biggest)--the legacy of the Brits. Quite an experience to ride on.

      I on the otherhand was somewhat terrified riding on the highways. The driver drove incredibly fast, the car didn't seem to have seatbelts, and given that once you leave the big cities, it gets rural FAST, there were frequently animals in the road (think cows, lots of cows) which the driver didn't appear too concerned about missing. Also dancing bears (ugh)--which he actua
    • To all the folks who replied to my question: thanks for the info!

      I had no idea that roads were essentially non-existent, and that India has a pretty good (and heavily subsidized) passenger rail system. If you really have no highways whatsoever, there probably is a huge relative advantage to having some, as opposed to having yet more rail.

      Knowing how bad cars in the US are, I'm inclined to think -- well, could you maybe build more rail (more lines), just for freight -- and perhaps some express trains, for th
      • Also, there are extensive plans to build a Golden Quadrilateral of *railroads*, paralleling the roads. These would be primarily used for freight, between the big cities, and from the ports inland. The resulting reduction in utilization on the regular railroads would allow for more and faster passenger trains.

        Right now the fastest trains typically cover about 100kmph average. Madras-Bangalore (360km) takes about 4hrs. If they can cut it to about 2 or 2:30, It'll make my weekend trips so much better :-D.

        Of co
    • _Both_ are being built. Highways and railways chain off each other.
  • Indiana, thats how I first read it.
    I think its more unlikely the way I saw it first.
  • Any guesses? (Score:2, Insightful)

    by SeventyBang (858415)


    When will the software dished to them be something clean enough the people who hired them can understand it well enough to be able to make mods & enhancements for subsequent versions?

    It's been documented they aren't able to deal with their own code and have to rewrite it for v2.0.

    This is not a good sign of companies having saved money.


    There isn't a shortage of IT people. there's a shortage of good IT people. And bad coders can write bad code faster than good coders can write good code or fix t
  • by animeshpathak (873597) on Sunday December 04, 2005 @08:31PM (#14181407) Homepage
    Something that the article missed was that 2 years ago, an IIT engineer was gunned down in the state of Bihar because he blew the whistle on some of his seniors who were awarding contracts for the highway construction illegally. The most shocking part was that his letter to the ministry, which was marked highly confidential, was subject to the usual beaurocratic chain in the ministry, which led to the blowing of his cover and his death. The culprits have still not been brought to the book. However, this started a movement which is driving the creation of a whistleblower protection act in the Indian parliament.

    More information about Satyendra Dubey is at the website [skdubeyfoundation.org] of the S.K.Dubey foundation against corruption.
    -A
  • by Anonymous Coward
    He had three daughters living there, one a computer engineer, the other two married to computer engineers. Most of his engineers - almost all, like him, from the southern state of Andhra Pradesh - had relatives in America, too.

    No wonder that Andhraites (who speak the language TELUGU [wikipedia.org], popularly known as 'Italian of the East') form majority of the software professionals in the US. From Google's corporate page [google.com] - 'Dozens of languages are spoken by Google staffers, from Turkish to Telugu.'. Telugus also form maj
  • The article doesn't do a very good job, including in the multimedia section, of conveying the sheer scale of this project.

    It also contains some rather dubious facts. Aryan invasion? It also leaves some rather large gaps in history. It would be like describing Italy as Roman Empire, Enlightenment, and Mussolini. Understanding India is of far greater importance today than it was. Peculiar digressions on Hitler or HIV are offtopic and should be modded so.

    Essentially the story has very little on the real impact
  • I grew up there... (Score:2, Interesting)

    by copdk4 (712016)

    and some of my uncles had contracts in these highway projects. And I can tell you how this 'Road bizness' goes on in India.
    First, lets start with my small town in western India (couple hundred miles from Mumbai). Every year they build new roads in the town but not 'new ones' instead they 'rebuild' the roads over same ones.. why ? coz every year the road breaks down (with lot of pot holes and gravel comes out), mostly due to heavy monsoon.. They dont use good quality asphalt and mix lot of gravel.. Ahh an

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