Union Minister Nitin Gadkari on Saturday said a meeting of highway developers and officials from the National Highways Authority of India (NHAI) and the road ministry will soon be convened for expediting highway projects.
It assumes significance in the wake of the National Highways Builders Federation (NHBF), the highway builders’ body, taking a strong exception to the NHAI’s move to put in public domain the names of as many as 20 companies, including Larsen & Toubro and HCC, that were barred from bidding for highways projects and saying it had no authority to do so.
“I will soon chair a meeting of highway developers and officials of NHAI besides the ministry to ensure that highway projects are expedited,” Road Transport, Highways and Shipping Minister said.
The minister said the government is also trying to reduce the turnaround time of highway projects to significantly enhance the construction pace.
The highways building pace has reached 28 km a day now, from 2 km a day when the BJP government had taken charge, and the target is to take it to 40 km a day by March next year, Gadakri said.
The meeting of the minister with the highway developers and NHAI officials is expected to address the prevailing issue.
But, when asked, Gadkari did not comment on NHAI’s move to upload a list of terminated contracts on its website which was later withdrawn.
The highway builders’ body in its letter to Gadkari and Principal Secretary to PM Nripendra Mishra said, “Even assuming that NHAI falls under the definition of a state instrumentality and thereby it has, powers to blacklist an entity flows from the executive power to Carry out the trade/business, it has no authority to upload such document in public domain.”