high & dry
Nitin Gadkari is gearing up to control the Ministry of Road Transport and Highways. Nine months have passed but there has not been much movement. Vijay Chhibber, Secretary of the Ministry, is completely in tune with Gadkari. Sources say that the biggest bottleneck in the smooth running of the ministry is RP Singh, a 1976-batch IAS officer of the Andhra Pradesh cadre, who is unable to keep pace with the government’s ambitious target of building 30 km of highways every day. Singh has worked as a backroom boy in Manmohan Singh’s government and is considered a tough taskmaster. Gadkari wants to speed up the projects of 2013-14; NHAI has been able to complete just 1,436 km of highways as against the target of 7,500 km. Besides, some 28 projects worth `43,918 crore failed to attract bids since 2012. The speed of building NHAI projects is implemented and monitored by the Chief General Managers (CGMs). Most of the CGMs are from NHAI but Gadkari has succeeded in breaking the monopoly as he managed to appoint the CGMs directly from the ministry in January. The way things are taking shape in the ministry, Gadkari will manage to pack off Singh soon.