New Delhi: In a stern warning to officials that government is in no mood to tolerate delays in highway projects, Union Minister Nitin Gadkari on Tuesday, asked them to shun “negative approach” and take prompt decision to avoid cost over-runs and achieve targets within set deadlines.

The statement comes barely days after the Road Transport and Highways Ministry fixing an ambitious target of laying more than 40 km of roads per day in the current fiscal, more than double the current pace.

In a clearcut message at a meeting of regional officials of National Highways Authority of India (NHAI), Road Transport and Highways Minister Gadkari said “take decisions as delays are not permissible”, an official said.

Inaugurating a conference of regional officers of NHAI, Gadkari said there is “an utmost need for performance audit at various levels to check delays,” a statement from Highways Ministry also said.

He emphasised that a positive attitude, transparent working system and prompt decision making are essential for the Ministry to realise its objective of facilitating safe and seamless travel across the country.

“Officials should try to solve problems in a proactive and positive manner within the ambit of applicable rules and regulations, and avoid unnecessary delays,” he said.

A file photo of Nitin Gadkari. AFPA file photo of Nitin Gadkari. AFP

A file photo of Nitin Gadkari. AFP

“Negative approach only leads to delay in completion of project, and delays cause avoidable cost overruns and harassment to stakeholders,” the Minister said terming cooperation, coordination and communication as key to find solutions.

He stressed that there should be proper delegation of work in conformity with management’s best practises and effort should be on proper utilisation of resources so that both time and cost of road construction can be brought down.

On land acquisition, he said that following the Land Acquisition Act of 2013, though the cost of land had gone up it had made the process of acquiring land smoother due to adequate compensation. He also urged states to streamline the process of giving compensation.

The Minister also stressed the need to work on reducing accidents and road fatalities. The rectification work at identified black spots for accidents need to be done urgently, he said adding that he would also like to speed up the work on road side amenities on waste lands.

Minister of State for Transport Pon Radhakrishnan, who was also present in the meeting, said roads are the second biggest infrastructure after power and that the hybrid annuity model could take development further.

He also said that non-disbursement of funds and lack of updation of revenue records leads to land acquisition delays.

Secretary Highways Sanjay Mitra said his ministry would work hard to achieve the steep targets set for 2016-17.

Efforts would be made to delegate powers so that projects could be speeded up, he said and added that attention would be paid to streamlining processes.

NHAI Chairman Raghav Chandra said during 2015-16, 9,285 hectares of land had been acquired. He also proposed to provide incentives to Competent Authority for Land Acquisition (CALA) and District authorities to incentivise them to speed up the process of land acquisition.

On the occasion the Minister also released an online project monitoring system.

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Take decisions as delays in road projects are not permissible: Gadkari to officials