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In a bid to facilitate smooth implementation of the ambitious Bharatmala project, the government has reconstituted the board of NHAI by inducting NITI Aayog CEO as a part time member, an official said. The decision comes barely a month after the government approved a mega plan to build 83,677 km of highways over the next five years at a cost of about Rs 7 lakh crore which includes the Bharatmala, one of the biggest highway projects. "In exercise of the powers conferred by ... the National Highways Authority of India Act, 1988, the Central Government hereby makes the following rules further to amend the National Highways Authority of India, Rules 2003," a gazette notification by the Road Transport and Highways Ministry said. As per the notification, "Chief Executive Officer, NITI Aayog" has been inducted as a part time member in the National Highways Authority of India (NHAI) Board in place of Secretary, Department of Economic Affairs. The Authority's other part-time members include Secretary, Department of Expenditure; Secretary, Road Transport and Highways; and Director General (Road). The official said reorganisation of the NHAI board was made as part of the Bharatmala programme. Bharatmala works have been proposed for completion in five years by 2021-22 through NHAI, NHIDCL, MoRTH and state PWDs. Substantial delegation of powers has been provided to NHAI, NHIDCL and the Ministry of Road Transport and Highways (MoRTH) to facilitate speedy implementation.
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