The National Highway Administration (NHA) has been tasked with implementing the recommendations of the National Highway Management Council (NHC), the Cabinet-level body which was set up by the then Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
But its role is not limited to the implementation of the recommendations.NHA has been working on the National Highways Development Project (NHDP) since January this year.
The NHDP was a recommendation made by the NHC and was designed to be a national infrastructure project that would be in line with the recommendations laid down by the UPA government in the National Development Plan (NDP).
However, the project has been criticised by many as having failed to meet the goals set by the PMO.
In an exclusive interview with The Wire, NDCP convenor Sunil Kothari said the NHA has taken up the project but the implementation has been slower.
“There was a lot of pressure on the Nha from the PM.
There were a lot different departments which wanted the project to be implemented in a hurry and we were left in the dark,” he said.
“The NHDP is a National Road Transport Policy and as such, the NSHD is a State Road Transport Development Corporation (SRTC) which has been mandated to implement it.
This was a proposal made by NHA but it was not implemented in time.”
Kothari, however, pointed out that there was no issue with the NHE.
“It has been an implementation of recommendations made by UPA but as it was the UASI (UPA-I) that was in charge of the NHTD, the State Road Administration has to carry out it.
We will take up the NHDP with the USHD and the SRTC as it has been approved by the Cabinet and the PM has agreed to,” he added.
“We have given priority to the NHDP.
We have also started planning the NHD and there is a lot going on now.”
While the NHHD has been taking up the task of implementing the NHPD, the NHSC, which is being led by former Transport Minister Nirmala Sitharaman, is also taking up some of the other major tasks such as the National Roads Development Strategy (NDRSS) and National Urban Transport Development Strategy.
Kothar, however said that the NHDC has taken the lead in setting up a joint road transport ministry under the National Infrastructure Development Agency (NIDIA) to carry on the NHPs work.
“NHDC and NIA are joint secretaries.
NHDc has been the head of the project for two years and NIDIA has been in charge for five years.
There is a committee which is working on NHPs work and we are now trying to put it together,” he told The Wire.
The NHHDP was initially launched in February this year and the project is being worked on with the help of the UAVs of the state.
“With UAV we will fly in 10 helicopters to monitor the road traffic and traffic flow.
We also have a fleet of 10-12 helicopters which will monitor the traffic,” he noted.
“I have been involved in NHDP for a while now.
This is not the first time we have worked together but it is the first where we have done something together,” Kothar added.