It was some sort of childhood dream coming true for Oscar Fernandes when he assumed office as Minister for Road Transport and Highways on Tuesday — he had a personal interest in construction of roads since his childhood.
Talking to reporters after assuming office, he expressed happiness at being given charge of the ministry. His interest in road construction developed as a child and he pursued it as a worker of the Youth Congress, participating in road building campaigns.
Mr. Fernandes was inducted into the Cabinet on Monday to fill the vacancy caused by C.P. Joshi being shifted to the organisational wing in preparation for the Assembly elections in Rajasthan and the Lok Sabha elections in 2014.
Returning to the Cabinet after over four years, Mr. Fernandes, considered close to Congress party chief Sonia Gandhi, said he was grateful to the party for reposing faith in him to serve people.
The Rajya Sabha member from Karnataka, who has held several other portfolios, said he was aware of the problems afflicting the construction of highways. He had directed his officials to resolve issues through consultation and persuasion, taking all stakeholders into confidence.
Mr. Fernandes pointed out that the Prime Minister had constituted a committee for expeditious clearance of road projects, and hoped officers would adhere to its mandate in executing the projects. He would personally work for early environment clearance for the projects.