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Published On: Wed, Oct 28th, 2020

Gadkari Gives Dressing Down To NHAI Officials Over Work Culture

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Nitin_Gadkari_PTINEW DELHI : Union Road Transport and Highway Minister Nitin Gadkari gave a long dressing down to officials of National Highway Authority of India (NHAI) for a big delay in constructing their new office and at the same time highlighted the issues plaguing NHAI and the Indian bureaucracy in general.
While speaking at the virtual inauguration ceremony Gadkari said that while it is a norm to congratulate people after the successful completion of a work but he is finding it hard to do so.

Most politicians would simply be too happy to preside over flashy inaugurations to admonish officials for any kind of lapses. Nitin Gadkari is not among them.
Transport Minister who enjoys rare bipartisan respect for his no-nonsense style was in his characteristic form when he pulled up government officers for an inordinate delay in finishing a project.

While opening the new headquarters of the National Highways Authority of India (NHAI) on Sunday, the minister noted how it took 12 years to complete the building. Mr Gadkari said 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.
Two governments and eight chairmen had passed through the organisation while the building was under construction, he said, speaking via video-conferencing. “The current chairman and members are unrelated to it. But the great personalities who worked on it from 2011 to 2020, If possible, their photos should be put up in the building. They delayed decisions for nine years,” he said.

“We say with pride that we will complete the Delhi-Mumbai expressway in two to three years. It is worth Rs 80,000 to 1 lakh crore. But it took so many years to complete this project of Rs 250 crore,” Mr Gadkari said. Saying that the national highway authority needed urgent reforms, he said, the time had come to act against the non-performing employees.
“We have been unable to identify performance bottlenecks. Many committees were formed, they gave their report. But these corrupt and inept and lazy people of NHAI are so powerful that despite orders, they take wrong decisions,” he said.
Nitin Gadkari was not happy that the completion of the building took 9 years, and he decided to use this opportunity to roast the officials for delays in completing projects.Taking a swipe at the NHAI officials, Gadkari said, “During a ceremony like this, the convention says that one should congratulate people involved in the completion of the project. But I don’t know how should I do that.

The plan of the construction of the building was ready by 2008 and in 2011 it won the tender for the construction. It took 9 years for the completion of this Rs 200-250 crore project. It took two central governments and 8 chairmen to ensure that the work is completed.”

Gadkari was visibly unhappy that the NHAI was celebrating the mediocrity of the organisation as the project which should have been completed in 2-3 years took more than 9 years for its completion. It is to highlight this inefficiency that the Union Minister made sarcastic jibes at the organisation and those responsible for this predicament.
In a bid to (dis)honour the officials responsible in the construction of the NHAI building, Gadkari mockingly suggested the current chairman of the agency to put up the photos of the CGMs and GMs in the new office for taking 9 long years for its completion.

Perhaps, a ‘wall of shame’ with the portraits of the NHAI officials responsible for the delay of the building construction was what the Union Minister was suggesting.
Gadkari even scoffed at the NHAI’s decision of setting the highly ambitious deadline of 3 years for the completion of Mumbai-Delhi highway. “When the NHAI building project worth Rs 200-250 crores took 9 years for completion, I really doubt how the Mumbai-Delhi highway project that is pegged at Rs 80,000 crore- Rs 1,00,000 crores be completed in just 3 years,” Gadkari sharply noted.
The culture at NHAI breeds “perverted ideology” and inefficient officials embody ‘Vish Kanyas’: Gadkari If this was not enough, Gadkari even proceeded to take potshots at the culture of the agency that promoted and preserved people with “perverted ideology” who not only remained indecisive but also created hurdles and complications in the work.
“Such people with perverted ideology, who stick to their positions for more than 12-13 years in the organisation, ironically also become philosophers and guides to the chairman of the agency,” Gadkari sardonically noted while ridiculing the culture that has rewarded inefficient officials and their tardiness.
Gadkari continued flaying the officials, likening them to “Vish Kanya” (Venomous people) and expressed his astonishment over why such individuals are still treated as “philosophers” and “guides” from top to bottom in the agency. Mincing no words, Gadkari said the excessive delay in construction of the NHAI building demonstrated the unworthiness and depravity of the agency’s tradition of CGMs and GMs.
Furthermore, Gadkari highlighted some instances when the indecisiveness of the NHAI officials had caused an additional burden on the public exchequer. In one instance, a contract which was initially quoted to be completed in 400 crores, ended up being finalised by the organisation at Rs 1400 crores.
In another such instance, the NHAI had rejected the idea of continuing a project’s second leg with the same contractor. A new tender was floated and the same contractor was awarded the construction work at a premium of Rs 400-500 crore.
(With Agency Inputs ).



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