New Delhi: The simmering tension between the Minister of Road Transport and Highways Minister Kamal Nath and Planning Commission Deputy Chairman Montek Singh Ahluwalia came out in the open on Monday. Ahluwalia could only look on as Nath took pot shots at the Planning Commission.
"When I joined the Ministry, people asked, how will you do it? Every one told me the Planning Commission will not allow me to do it. Every one can produce a good book. You take something from here, you take something from there. But how do you produce a road. It is all very well being an armchair advisor," Nath said taking a pot shot at Ahluwalia.
Nath had more in his arsenal and wasn't saving his ammunition for later.
"Day before yesterday, I was in the inauguration of the Terminal 3 (of Delhi's IGI airport). I asked people who were responsible for building the airport. How do you do it? They said because the Planning Commission and their people had nothing to do with it," he said.
Not a politician to take things lying down, Nath chose to talk about ground realities.
"I got 4,000 to 5,000 letters from chief ministers, ministers, MPs etc before I joined the ministry. I have to respond to it. Planning Commission is in a great position and they do not have to respond to any one," he added.
The Planning Commission Deputy Chairman was muted in his response and downplayed the matter
"Planning commission is here for planning and not for implementation," said Ahluwalia.
The war of words between the Road Transport and Highways Ministry and the Planning Commission may continue in the future. But at stake will be 46m000 kms of roads that is to be built in the next two years.