• Gadkari puts babus on fast road to reforms

    With only 20 per cent of annual national highways construction targets achieved so far, Road Transport and Highways Minister Nitin Gadkari is certainly not a happy man. Realising that factors such as land acquisition, legal issues, forest and wildlife clearances are the main reasons for the projects getting delayed for 12-18 months and are beyond their control, his ministry now seems to be looking at out-of-the-box solutions.
    Gadkari has directed officials to ensure land acquisition hurdles are removed. “For clearance of every project, it takes one or one-and-a-half years. It is the problem of the system. After 2.5 years of experience, I understand what the bottlenecks are. In interactions with the National Highways Authority of India, we are taking a lot of reforms initiatives,” said Gadkari.

    The ministry recently deployed a senior joint secretary-level officer of Uttar Pradesh cadre in the poll-bound state and interact with district-level officials to ensure that the projects do not face many problems at the local level.

    Road, Transport and Highways Minister Nitin Gadkari has directed his officials to remove roadblocks on the construction of the national highways. “It has been an interesting attempt. It seems to be working. It will also ensure that ministry officials have a channel with local officials. This may at least cut delays on account of miscommunication and other simple issues,” said a senior ministry official.

    The official said they are aware about the problems and are looking towards such simple solutions to work around the delays because otherwise it would never be able to achieve their target. The ministry has also decided to go for acquiring land as per provisions of respective states.

    The ministry, which had set an ambitious target of construction of 25,000 km of highways in the last eight months, has only been able to commission 4,500 km. Road and railways are two important sectors for the Narendra Modi government as it believes they would bring last-mile connectivity, and infrastructure creation would fuel growth.

    Last month, the ministry had noted that many projects are lagging due to delay in land acquisition, forest, wildlife clearance, utility shifting, slow progress of contractor and other reasons.

    “It has been opined that such projects need close on-site monitoring to identify the bottlenecks and ensure timely completion in order to achieve the national target of construction of national highways of 30 km/Day,” said an order issued to state officers by the ministry. When NDA assumed power, India had 96,000 km of national highways and it is planned to increase up to 200,000 km by 2019. Roberto Luongo Womens Jersey

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