Nath promises overhaul of road & highway sector

May 30, 2009

In what could be seen as strong indications of an overhaul in the working of road transport and highway sector, new minister Kamal Nath on Friday made it clear that he would go for wholesome changes in the ministry to put road construction back in top gear.

After taking charge of the ministry, Nath said his focus would be on implementation of projects on the ground rather than making big plans — a clear indication that the sector will get a major boost.

“Sadkon ko napi jaati hai, plans ko nahin (roads are measured and not the plans). Lot of thought has been given to planning in the past two years. Now we have to deliver. Performance is evaluated on the basis of kilometres of roads that are built. Now our agenda is of change. The system has to be overhauled so that work on the ground happens. Planning has to be delivered on roads,” he told reporters.

Nath, who was shifted from commerce and industry to road transport and highways, said he was “excited” about his new portfolio. He said he was looking forward to a challenge and he had got one.

On highway projects under public private partnership (PPP) model finding lukewarm response from private developers, the minister said, “Models which are not working have to be done away with and we need to adopt models which can attract investors. Moreover, just awarding the work is not just enough. We have to ensure progress is made on the ground.”

Spelling out his approach to bring the key infrastructure sector back on track, the minister said he was looking at structural changes in the system and procedures to make it result oriented. “Some of the old regulatory frameworks relating to transportation like multiple permit and Motor Vehicles Act have to be looked at from new perspectives. Old laws have to be amended,” he said.

Ministers of state Mahadev Khandela and R P N Singh also assumed charge on Friday.


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