Brijeshwar Singh is new NHAI chief

Brijeshwar Singh is new NHAI chief

New Delhi: The Centre has named Brijeshwar Singh, a 1975 batch Indian Administrative Service officer, the new chairman of highways regulator National Highways Authority of India, or NHAI, replacing N. Gokulram, who will join the Planning Commission, the apex plan body.

Gokulram’s exit comes even as the highways authority is caught in a legal wrangle over guidelines for shortlisting bidders for highway projects.

He is the third top executive at the highway regulator to be moved out of the post in recent years. Mint had earlier reported on Gokulram’s uneasy relationship with the T. R. Baalu, minister for shipping, road transport and highways.

Gokulram will move into his new role as a principal advisor at the Planning Commission next week, a government official confirmed, asking not to be named.

Singh is currently chairman and managing director of Arasu Cable TV Corporation, a state-run provider of cable television services.

An executive with a highway contractor, however, said he doesn’t expect the appointment to change the pace of highway development. “Anyway they (the NHAI) can’t do anything without resolving the issue of shortlisting. They can call for the bids, but they cannot open them," he said asking not to be named, citing ongoing government contracts.

The highway regulator oversees the National Highway Development Programme, or NHDP, under which, almost 33,097km of highways were to be four-laned.