New Delhi, June 18: Appointment to the key post of the Chairman, National Highways Authority of India will be done soon as the government sharpens focus on augmenting infrastructure, especially building 30 km of roads a day.
"Decision on the NHAI Chairman will be taken soon. We have sent a letter to the Cabinet Secretary for an Appointment Committee to select its (NHAI) Chairman," Road Transport and Highways Minister Nitin Gadkari said.
Steps are also being taken to strengthen NHAI and a committee appointed in this regard had given its preliminary report which was being studied, Gadkari said. Sources said more than three dozens candidates have applied for the top post including over a dozen secretaries and former bureaucrats.
Before Singh, NHAI was headless for nearly two years as the position of full-time Chairman at NHAI fell vacant in August 2010 after the retirement of Brijeshwar Singh.
The government, inviting applications for the post, had said: "Chairman, NHAI is the Chief Executive of one of world's largest and most successful road development programme being carried out in India...Government of India seeks a professional who is dynamic, energetic, result-oriented and keen to play a key role in the development of National Highways in India."
A statutory body under the ministry, NHAI is entrusted with the task of implementing National Highways Development Project (NHDP), India's largest-ever highways project.
The importance of the body can be gauged by the fact that it regulates 92,851 km of national highways across the country.
The government plans to take the road building pace to 30 km a day in two years from about 14 km at present.