Nitin Gadkari Calls Out Delayed Work Culture At NHAI, Says ‘NPAs’ Need To Be Weeded Out
Nitin Gadkari at an event in New Delhi, India. (Photographer: Anindito Mukherjee/Bloomberg)

Nitin Gadkari Calls Out Delayed Work Culture At NHAI, Says ‘NPAs’ Need To Be Weeded Out

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Unhappy over the “delayed” work culture at NHAI, Union minister Nitin Gadkari on Monday said it was time to show exit door to “non-performing” officials that were complicating and delaying projects by creating obstacles.

The National Highways Authority of India has become a breeding ground for inefficient officials who are creating hurdles and referring every matter to committees, the road, transport and small industries minister said. “These people who are non-performing assets, who do not take timely decisions, who are totally negative, and this entire system of delaying decision-making must be demolished.”

Gadkari was addressing a virtual gathering during the inauguration of NHAI building at Dwarka which took about nine years to complete.

Those people must be held accountable to the public because it is the public’s property.
Nitin Gadkar, Minister of Road, Transport and Highways

He said the building project for which tender was awarded in 2011, took almost nine years to complete and saw seven NHAI chairmen and two governments.

“A proper history of these years of delay should be recorded in a book and those who were responsible for the delay, should have their photographs pasted in the book,” Gadkari retorted. “A case study should be made of these non-performing assets, who delayed their work, and it must be presented to the public. Because ultimately, the public is the owner, and we are just trustees.”

No one knows how much cost must have risen because of the delays, but it is estimated to be at least Rs 50-60 crore.
Nitin Gadkar, Minister of Road, Transport and Highways

Gadkari said he has been emphasising on widespread reforms in NHAI but of no avail and said when mammoth work for Rs 1 lakh crore Delhi-Mumbai Expressway is planned to be executed within three years, how could a single building take about ten years in completion.

“I feel ashamed. I had personally conducted three-four meetings for it. I have been insisting on reforms. Now as the tradition is, records will be prepared to blame the contractors alone,” the minister said and warned officials to mend their ways.

The minister wondered as to why the Authority was not able to retain engineers from premier institutes and why those “who were not even fit to work for states” were being promoted even when their “wrong decisions” were costing the exchequer heavily.

Warning the officials to change their work pattern, Gadkari said he would personally oversee termination, suspension and removal of guilty officials.

If I could be so aware about what goes on, then why cannot the members of NHAI be? The reason is that they do not review their work.
Nitin Gadkar, Minister of Road, Transport and Highways

Gadkari has been stressing on the need to expedite decision-making by NHAI and ministry officials while cautioning that non-performers would be given compulsory retirement.

The minister had earlier this year said that he had sought a list of non-performing officials for showing the exit door.

He had warned “non-performing” officials or “dead assets” who neither take decisions nor allow others to work of showing exit door while saying that red-tapism will not be tolerated.

NHAI's new building has been constructed over a 6,086 square meter plot in Dwarka area, adjacent to NHAI's existing office complex.

It has ground plus seven stories, with two levels of basement.

NHAI plans to shift around 400 of its employees to the new building, which is equipped with latest building management system, computer automation and state-of-the-art facilities for enhanced work performance.

NHAI has been mandated the task to develop, maintain and manage National Highways, the arterial roads of the country, for inter-state movement of passengers and goods.

While Gadkari thanked officials for getting the project completed, he refused to appreciate them. “There is a tradition that even if your work is delayed, it must be appreciated. I can not utter a word of appreciation, because I am not an actor,” he said. “I would still thank them for completing the work but now they should focus on fueling the reforms in NHAI.”

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