Monday, September 14, 2009

Road & Roadblock: Why does govt need Gajendra Haldea, a 1973 batch IAS?

IN A recent get-together of the 1973 batch IAS officers, someone said, “He is the road, and he is the roadblock” introducing road transport and highways secretary Brahm Dutt as “road” and all powerful infrastructure man in Planning Commission Gajendra Haldea as “roadblock”. Probably, he is the most hated IAS officer in Delhi’s power corridors as he is considered to be the stumbling block for many projects ranging from road and highways, railways to urban development. He is not liked by those manning the core sector wing, read PPP, in the ministry of finance too. Nor is he the darling of infrastructure bigwigs who want to make quick bucks at the expense of government exchequer! For highway builders, he is the Enemy No 1. Yet, the man at the Plan Panel, who has all the blessings of deputy chairman Montek Singh Ahluwalia, is unmoved by any amount of criticism. A big supporter of public private partnership model which is meant to lessen burdens on government expenditure, Mr Haldea has become a whistleblower within the government which at times earns him the reputation of a roadblock. He does not mind creating a roadblock to a project or a process if he notices any ploy to extract government fund. But no one can challenge him in infrastructure space which he mustered for nearly two decades, first in the ministry of finance and then in Planning Commission. Many people don’t know that all model concession agreements (MCAs) for PPP projects in India are the offshoot of his book “Indian Highways: a Framework for Commercialisation” which was published in 2000 by NCAER. No wonder, all government model concession agreements, prepared by the PPP cell of the Planning Commission for the last several years, have copyrights of Mr Haldea. Many within the government were fiercely opposed to his move as how an IAS officer can have a copyright on all government documents. But he has done it! Just open any government MCA, be it on highways, shipping, railways or airport modernization, you will find his name prominently inserted in the copyright clause. Who says you can’t be a challenger while remaining in government?

No special protection for officials if Article 311 is amended

India’s law minister M Veerappa Moily has talked tough on corrupt civil servants arguing that there was a need to “revisit” constitutional provisions giving protection to officers. The remark is significant which came just a day after Chief Justice of India K G Balakrishnan pointed at delays in granting sanction to prosecute corrupt government officials. Mr Moily said on Sunday that he would initiate action to amend the Article 311 of the Constitution which comes in the way of bringing corrupt civil servants to book.


  1. But, finally, all these activities and development in our highway sector are taking place ‘because of’ him or ‘inspite of’ him ??

  2. While congratulating him and his tireless crusade, one only wishes that there is some equally strong "roadblock" in the implementation space,after seeing the state of our roads post-monsoon,the cave-in of roofing at IGI Airport et al...!

  3. No doubt the need of the hour is a group of dedicated, visionary and bold bureaucrats who can rise above personal gains and serve the country in a most honest manner. They should behave as the true steel frame of the administration....

  4. How many such controversial IAS and IPS are there in power corridors?