Govt`s fresh criteria for selecting NHAI chief
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Last Updated: Sunday, January 29, 2012, 12:32
New Delhi: Continuing the hunt for a regular chief for NHAI, the government has come out with fresh criteria that paves the way for appointing a technocrat or an executive from the private sector as the head of the highways regulator.

Calling for applications by February 21, the government has said that, "a full-time Director on the Board of a Schedule 'A' Central PSU...engaged primarily in infrastructure or ... a CEO or Director in a public or private sector infrastructure entity, having a net worth of not less than Rs 2,000 crore" can now qualify for the top job in addition to GoI Secretary.

For a bureaucrat, it said that one who "is holding or has held on regular basis the post of Secretary or Additional Secretary to the Government of India for at least two years, or equivalent," can apply for the post.

Prescribing the pay scale of "Rs 80,000 per month fixed plus allowances as admissible", the government said the tenure of the Chairman would be "for a term of three years from the date on which he enters upon his office and shall be eligible for re-appointment for a further term of two years," provided he has not attained 65 years age.

The appointment of a full-time Chairman for National Highways Authority of India (NHAI) has been hanging fire since August 2010, after the retirement of Brijeshwar Singh. Road Secretary AK Upadhyay holds its additional charge at present.

A technocrat like metro man E Sreedharan should be allowed to occupy the top post instead of only bureaucrats, Road Transport and Highways Minister C P Joshi had said last year. Earlier, the rules allowed only bureaucrats of the rank of Additional Secretary and above to apply.

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh in June last year had asked the Ministry to expedite the process of appointing a new Chairman against the backdrop of projects worth Rs 3 lakh crore to be awarded under the National Highways Development Project (NHDP) to be implemented by the NHAI.

Cabinet Secretary in July, 2011 wrote a letter to the Ministry setting a deadline of three months for appointment to the post.

The government had constituted a panel, Chaired by the Cabinet Secretary, over a year ago to select a candidate for the post.

Brijeshwar Singh, on his retirement in August 2010 was given an extension till December 2010.

After Singh's tenure was over former Road Secretary R S Gujral was given the additional charge till March 31, 2011 and in the absence of a final decision, however, Gujral's tenure has been extended and later Upadhyay took over the additional charge.


First Published: Sunday, January 29, 2012, 12:32

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