NHAI to reward whistle-blowers to weed out corruption

Last Updated: Monday, April 4, 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.

PTI



First Published: Monday, April 4, 2011 - 19:22

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