After months of deliberations, the National Highways Authority of India (NHAI) has finally got a new Chairman in ex-IAS officer, R.P. Singh. But that doesn’t necessarily mean that the UPA’s much-vaunted highway development projects will now get back on track. A rather piquant situation has now arisen over increasing toll on highways, which has
pitted the Ministr
y of Road Transport and Highways against the Planning Commission.
According to sources, the commission is in favour of increasing toll rates by 10 per cent and higher rates for expressways. The proposal, mooted by Gajendra Haldea, Adviser to Planning Commission Deputy Chairman Montek Singh Ahluwalia, has however, come up against stiff resistance from the Ministry’s babus. Curiously, while Ministry officials. including Special Secretary and Financial Advisor Vijay Chibber are opposing the proposal, their Minister C.P. Joshi seems to be all for it! Apparently this is not the first time that Haldea and Chibber have been at loggerheads. Who will win this time?