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Officials to undergo performance audit: Gadkari

New Delhi: Cautioning that non-performers will be shunted out through "compulsory retirement", Union minister Nitin Gadkari on Friday said delays in highway projects will not be tolerated and officials will have to pass the litmus test as their performances will be audited.

The Road Transport and Highways Minister's remarks followed a two-day review of 740 highway projects totalling 28,304 km from 16 states in which every ongoing project was reviewed with a 360-degree view from all stakeholders.

Senior officials of the ministry, NHAI, state governments, contractors,

concessionaires, and consultants attended the review meeting. A target of highways building at a pace of 40 km/day by March 31, 2022, was also proposed.

Speaking at the conclusion of the review meeting, Gadkari said, "Performance audit of each and every official will be done. Those found not performing up to the mark will be shown the exit through compulsory retirement as also said by the Prime Minister. However, good work will equally be rewarded."

He said the performance audit was more important than financial audit and there will be 15-20 parameters, including initiatives for resolving problems and fast-tracking projects, for such an audit.

The minister said that the flagship expressway project Delhi-Mumbai Express Highway will be completed in three years. The work has already started on 18 out of 51 packages of the project.

The project will usher in tribal and backward areas of Haryana, Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh and Gujarat among other places with coming up of smart cities, education hubs and health clubs besides facilities for commuters and drivers.

"The project will see way side amenities on every 50 km besides petrol pumps, hotels and restaurants and 10 lakh trees will be planted besides water harvesting and installation of solar powers, he said.

He said the project on a new alignment has saved Rs 16,000 crore on land acquisition cost alone and will boost business and trade between Delhi and Mumbai.

He said 22 greenfield corridors of length 7,500 km is being developed with a total capital cost of Rs 3 lakh crore.

"Work has started on some while awarding all other projects are/ will be completed expeditiously. These projects are being pursued vigorously and are being implemented on priority," he said.

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