New Delhi, Jul 15: The ongoing spat between the Deputy Chairman of Planning Commission Montek Singh Ahluwalia and Transport Minister Kamal Nath took an uglier turn with a report on likely bankruptcy of the National Highways Authority of India (NHAI) emerging from the Plan panel.
Mr Nath reportedly called up Mr Ahluwalia to seek clarification on a report from Planning Commission that states that the NHAI is on the verge of bankruptcy.
"I talked to (Deputy Chairman) Ahluwalia in the morning. He said there is no such report of the Planning Commission," the Transport Minister told the media personnel here in response to a question on a purported Plan panel paper that predicted the NHAI would go bankrupt in three years.
In the paper, the Planning Commission has reportedly stated that bankruptcy for NHAI was eminent as was borrowing substantially more than its revenue from a fuel cess of Rs 2 per litre.
The report goes on to say that the the nodal body on national highways plans to borrow about Rs 50,000 crore against its revenue of Rs 25,000 crore in the next three years.
Mr Ahluwalia, on the other hand, played down the matter, saying “There is no Planning Commission report. I think people keep referring to a discussion paper produced by one officer. It"s not approved by me."
This comes in the wake of the war of word between Mr Nath and Mr Ahulawali which was sparked off when the transport minister called the Plan panel an “armchair advisor". This invited a retort Mr Ahluwalia, who had said the government could not be run by only those who build roads.