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NHAI to double its headcount, hire 500

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NEW DELHI: In an attempt to improve the poor performance of the National Highways Authority of India (NHAI) over the last five years, the ministry of road transport and highways has decided to add more than double the number of existing officials to the organisation.

In fact, the process of recruiting about 500 more officers at different ranks has already begun and a few officers have even been selected. Once completed, this will take the total number of NHAI officials to over 900, a sharp deviation from its image of a slim organization, known for outsourcing ancillary functions.

The decision to fork up their manpower requirements at NHAI comes in the wake of announcements by the new minister of road transport and highways Kamal Nath of the need to make a quantum leap in improving the road infrastructure.

On Friday itself, Kamal Nath announced that the government would spend Rs 1 lakh crore on developing 12,000 kilometres of highways across the country.

According to an official at the ministry, of the total number of officers to be recruited, about 26 posts will be of the Chief General Manager (CGM) rank, which is equivalent to the post of a joint secretary in the government of India and one that is filled on a deputation basis. Five individuals have already been selected against these posts, said an official.

There are also plans of doubling the number of general managers, who are at the rank of superintendent engineers. According to an NHAI spokesperson, there are about 54 general managers currently.

Meanwhile, the total number of positions open for deputy general managers (DGM) and managers is even higher. About 100 posts are vacant for deputy general managers, equivalent to the position of an executive engineer and another 200 openings for managers.

While the NHAI has the authority to fill all the posts up to GM level, the selection of individuals for the CGM rank will be made by a high-level Search and Selection Committee which will operate under the chairmanship of the secretary of the ministry of road transport and highways and will also include field experts.

However, the official said that fulfilling the minister’s target of constructing 20 km of highways per day will require even more manpower than that which is being recruited at the moment. There is also a proposal to fix the tenure of the NHAI chairman for 3 years or upto 62 years. However, this is still with the Parliament for approval.

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