NHAI to reward whistle-blowers to weed out corruption
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Last Updated: Monday, April 04, 2011, 19:22
New Delhi: NHAI has come out with a 'Secret Service Fund' that is aimed at rewarding whistle-blowers and cleansing the system at a time when the highways regulator is battling serious corruption charges and is set to roll out Rs 3 lakh crore projects.

"For the first time, we have decided to offer cash rewards to informants providing authentic information, regarding corruption and irregularities. For this, we have instituted a 'Secret Service Fund' earmarking Rs 10 lakh for 2011-12," NHAI Chief Vigilance Officer Aloke Prasad said to a news agency.

The move, on the lines of the reward system offered by Indian police to informers on crime cases, is the first such step by NHAI to refurbish its image, as it faces corruption charges in appointments and bids, and has drawn flak from a parliamentary panel.

Cash rewards of up to Rs 25,000 crore, depending on authenticity of information and in terms of gain to the organisation, would be given to the informants whether from NHAI or from general public, he said.

A person can receive a maximum of four awards or maximum Rs 50,000 in a fiscal under the 'Cash Reward Scheme'. Also, the scheme has a provision to penalise false information providers with "an intention to cause undue harassment to any person in any manner."

Prasad, an IPS officer, said the step to give cash incentive to people was aimed at making NHAI a "zero corruption" organisation and followed the pattern of Indian police, which doled out such rewards to informants.

In line with the 'whistle blower policy' of the Central Vigilance Commission, the identity of the informer will be kept strictly confidential, he said.

Meanwhile, the highways regulator face serious corruption charges. Last year, CBI arrested some senior officials on graft charges, while central vigilance commission has raised fingers at its appointment process for senior-level posts.

Its vigilance wing has already submitted a report on the irregularities in the appointment process last year while the Road Transport and Highways Ministry has also admitted "serious administrative lapses" on NHAI's part.

A parliamentary panel last month had also asked NHAI to focus on developing roads rather than "finding avenues to fill its coffers", expressing concern over tardy progress of NHDP (National Highways Development Project).

"The Committee hopes that NHAI will concentrate more on development of roads rather than finding avenues to fill its coffers... ," Parliamentary Standing Committee on Transport, Chaired by Sitaram Yechury has said in its latest report.

NHDP, being implemented by NHAI, is one of the largest road development programmes undertaken by a single authority in the world and involves widening, upgrading and rehabilitation of about 54,000 km under seven phases.

The government has envisaged a massive investment of Rs 3 lakh crore under NHDP, 60 per cent of which is estimated to come from the private sector.


First Published: Monday, April 04, 2011, 19:22

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