The National Highways Authority of India (NHAI) has a new, swanky ₹250-crore headquarters. But Union minister for road transport and highways Nitin Gadkari was not happy during its inauguration. He was, in fact, fuming.
He was angry over the delay that the project had witnessed. The photos of those responsible for delaying the project should be placed on the walls of the building, he said while inaugurating the building. The project was finalised in 2008, but it took 12 years to complete it, he pointed out. He said all those who delay and complicate projects should be removed.
“It was a matter of shame that the Rs 250 crore-project was finalised in 2008, had its tender awarded in 2011 and took another nine years to build,” he said. “The current chairman and members don’t have any part in this project. But the great personalities like CGMs and GMs who have been associated with it from 2011 to 2020 and delayed the project, if possible, their photos should be put up in the building, so that people know their history,” he said.
“During an inauguration, the normal practice is to compliment people and wish them on completing the project. But I hesitate to compliment you,” he said. “It took eight chairpersons and two governments to complete the project,” he remarked.
He said the Mumbai-Delhi highway is planned to be completed in two-three years. When the Rs 80,000 crore to Rs 1,00,000 crore project can be completed in three to three-year-and-half years, finishing a Rs 200-250 crore project in 10-11 years doesn’t deserve any congratulation, he said. “I will ashamed by this,” he said.
NHAI has many people whose thought process is negative and they create complications for projects, although no one doubts their honesty and integrity. NHAI needs reforms. The authority has not been able to retain people from IITs, it is filled with those who are not fit to work for state governments and they are promoted as CGMs and GMs, Gadkari said.