TEHARN - Head of Rural Roads Department in the Iranian transportation ministry Khodadad Moghbeli has said that standard asphalt roads have reached a majority of Iranian villages, as the country moves to reduce the gap between urban and rural regions to prevent migration to large cities.
Moghbeli said that some 82% of Iranians living in villages with more than 20 households have now access to asphalt roads.
Moghbeli said that the coverage is below 70% in seven out of 31 provinces in Iran where villages are mostly scattered in remote mountainous areas.
Iran has nearly 55,000 villages of which around 39,000 are populated by more than 20 families. Latest government figures show that 26% of the country’s population of 85 million lives in the countryside.
The government has been providing basic services like utilities, fast internet and asphalt roads to villages in remote regions. The policy is aimed at preventing migration to large cities, a phenomenon that has caused massive social and economic problems in the country over the past decades.
Moghbeli said that the government plans to construct 32,000 kilometers of asphalt roads in rural regions to complete the coverage for the remaining 7,000 villages that accommodate more than 20 households.
He said the five-year project would need some 550 trillion rials (over 1.8 billion) in finances of which the government has committed to provide 120 trillion in the short-run.
Official figures show that Iran’s transportation ministry spends around $10 million each year on maintenance asphalt roads in the countryside.