Union roads and highway minister Nitin Gadkari termed media reports, quoting a letter from the PMO, indicating financial troubles at the National Highways Authority of India (NHAI) as "baseless and far from reality."
In a letter dated August 17, to Sanjeev Ranjan, the transport secretary, by Nripendra Misra, the principal secretary to the prime minister has reportedly flayed the massive expansion plans of NHAI as it has left the authority financially crippled.
The letter came on the heels of the PMO putting on hold all 'in-principle approvals' given to state roads that were to be declared as national highways. As per the reports in a section of the media, the letter said, the NHAI is totally logjammed by an unplanned and excessive expansion of roads and it is paying much higher costs for land and also construction.
When asked about the letter, Gadkari on Tuesday evening denied any financial troubles at the authority. "What has come in the media about the letter is wrong. It was just a suggestion that has come from the PMO, in which they have just brought it to the notice. There has been no decision on the same. The media report is wrong and far from reality," Gadkari said.
TV Sandeep Reddy, managing director of Gayatri Projects; Vijay Chibber, former secretary, road transport highway and Mangesh Bhadang, research analyst, IDBI Capital, spoke at length about where the road sector is headed.