New Delhi, Oct 1: In a stern 'perform or take VRS' warning to officials sitting on files, Union Minister Nitin Gadkari today asked them not to become obstacles in the way of India achieving world class infrastructure.
Setting a goal of 100 kms of road construction a day, the Road Transport and Highways Minister said bureaucratic dragnet and red-tapism would no longer be tolerated and such officials would be thrown out to cleanse the system.
"The world is ready to invest in India, especially in the highways sector, but we are not able to utilise our budgetary allocation.
For work worth Rs 5 lakh crore to get rolling, we need faster clearances, quick project report preparations but there are officials sitting on files, not taking decisions. "Those who do not want to work, please take VRS. We need people with positive attitude... mindset needs to be changed. Performance audit will be conducted. "We will not hesitate to penalise those who do not work.
Leave negative attitude. Red tapism would not be tolerated," Gadkari said at a workshop on Road Asset Management for National Highways under a World Bank funded project.
To bolster the country's economic growth, both Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Finance Minister Arun Jaitley have emphasised to expedite the pace of road construction, he said. "We have to build 100 kms of roads a day and unless we bring fast-track projects, this is not possible.
The road construction pace has reached 18 kms a day now from 2 kms when I took over the reins of the Ministry," he added.
Prime Minister in United States too asserted that India will build 30 kms of roads a day, he said, adding "our target is to build up the capacity of 100 kms a day."
The Minister said that 96,000 kms of National Highways constituted barely 2 per cent of the India's 48 lakh kms road network but witnessed 40 per cent of the total traffic and this traffic was concentrated on 40 per cent of the NH length.
"We need to widen the network of highways and 50,000 kms of length would be added to the existing highways length of about 1 lakh kms," the Minister said, adding that the growing number of vehicles too is a cause of concern. At present, the country has 18 crore registered motor vehicles.
Gadkari said India needs to check the large number of casualties happening on its roads as annually 1.5 lakh people die in road fatalities while another 3 lakh get crippled for life in 5 lakh accidents annually.
Much of the accidents happened due to faulty designing of roads, which needs to be corrected. He said government has proposed 1,200 road side amenities for people plying on roads and these would include clubs for truckers.
On the port front too, all 12 major ports have been asked to compare themselves with the world's best ports and results have started showing with them coming to profit after five years, Gadkari said.