Union Minister Nitin Gadkari on Tuesday issued a warning to NHAI officials, saying it is a “do or die” for them to achieve the target of building 40 kilometres of roads a day and there will be zero tolerance. Taking stock of projects during a day-long meeting at the National Highways Authority of India (NHAI) headquarters in New Delhi, the minister said any kind of laxity will not be tolerated in implementation of projects, an official who attended the meet told PTI.
“Do or die to achieve the target of building 40 km of roads a day. I am not ready to listen to any excuses. Yes, if you have any problem, you can raise it at right time and right platform,” Road Transport, Highways and Shipping Minister Gadkari told NHAI officials.
The rate of construction of National Highways during 2015-16 and 2016-17 was 16 km and 22 km per day, respectively.
Asking the officials to take “projects in mission mode”, Gadkari admitted that there were delays on account of land acquisition and regulatory hurdle, but at the same time made it clear that these should not hinder projects and should be addressed timely.
The official said the minister at the same time made it clear that there should be less bureaucratic tangle and things should be simplified instead of formation of committees for projects one after another.
He also called on senior officials to delegate duties and fast-track projects.
“While a record 16,271 km of National Highways have been awarded and 8,231 km constructed during 2016-17, work needs to be done at a much faster pace to award more projects and construct those that have been awarded,” he said as per an official statement issued by the Ministry of Road Transport and Highways.
He said an award will be constituted for the best performing project director and regional officer of the NHAI.
About expressways, the minister said, “Mumbai-Vadodara, Bengaluru-Chennai and Delhi-Amritsar-Katra Expressways are to be sanctioned by June 2017.”
Tenders for 33 wayside amenities are also to be floated by June 2017.
Besides, electronic toll collection will be made available on all lanes at all toll plazas by March 31, 2018.
Referring to the problem of land acquisition, Gadkari called for cooperation with the state governments concerned to tackle the issue.
He also made a pitch for expeditious resolution of issues like forest clearances, appointment of independent engineers and change of scope, among others.