The National Highway Authority of India (NHAI) was last week inaugurating their brand new building in Dwarka, in Delhi. The chief guest was, appropriately, their boss, Nitin Gadkari, the Union minister for highways. Gadkari is popularly known as Mr Highways for his impeccable record. Firstly, as PWD minister in Maharashtra from 1996 to 1999, he fast-tracked the construction of the Mumbai-Pune expressway, which had been languishing, and also built 55 flyovers in Mumbai. During his tenure the state’s rural road connectivity increased to 98 per cent. Due to this he was appointed as chairman of the National Rural Road Development Committee, which ultimately led to the launch of Prime Minister’s Gram Sadak Yojana.
Secondly, and more importantly, as Union minister for highways since 2014 in the Modi government, under Gadkari’s watch, the pace of highway building has gone up from barely two kilometres per day, to nearly 35 kilometres per day today. He is clearly a man of action, and in a hurry, and he is known to rally the troops and get contractors, builders and even private investors to work successfully with the government.