S.S. Rathore, Principal Secretary in the Roads & Buildings Department, Government of Gujarat, has an interesting and challenging field of activity — construction and maintenance of more than Rs. 1 lakh km of road network in Gujarat. His work entails frequent interaction with Government of India as he also handles all central projects like national highways and expressways, railways, and airstrips.
Rathore has pioneered long-distance PPP projects on state highways, including the first long-distance four-lane projects in India, namely the Ahmedabad-Mehsana and Vadodara-Halol projects. Other major projects undertaken by Rathore include the World Bank-assisted Gujarat State Highway Project, the World Bank and ADB- assisted Gujarat Emergency Earthquake Rehabilitation Project, widening of around 3,000 km of state highways to two lanes with paved shoulders, construction of Mahi, Narmada and other bridges on BOT, first cable-stayed bridge at Bhavnagar, and PMGSY and NABARD-assisted rural roads projects among others.
He was instrumental in completion of the Rs.180-crore Mahatma Mandir (convention centre) at Gandhinagar in a record 182 days. He successfully initiated and completed the World Bank-assisted Gujarat State Highways Project-I, rated by the global bank as “highly satisfactory” and the most successful externally aided road project in the country. With this project, he initiated and undertook major reforms in the highway sector.
Born on March 15, 1956, S.S. Rathore obtained his Bachelor’s Degree in Civil Engineering from L.D. College of Engineering, Ahmedabad, Gujarat University, in 1978, with Gold Medal, and topped the merit list of the Gujarat Public Service Commission Examination in 1980, the year he was appointed as Executive Engineer in the state R&B Department. Since then, he has worked in various capacities.
Apart from being the Principal Secretary in the R&B Department, Rathore is also the Chairman of Gujarat Road and Infrastructure Company Ltd and Director in Gujarat Industrial Development Corporation, Gujarat State Road Development Corporation, Gujarat Tourism Corporation and Gujarat Water Infrastructure Ltd. He has also served as the chairman of Gujarat State Centre of the Institution for the period 2004-2006 and has been a Member of IEI Council since 2004. He was also the chairman of Water Management Forum of the Institution during 2008-2011. In 2000, he was elected vice president of Indian Roads Congress and, in 2003, became its president.
The Ministry of Rural Development has utilised his vast experience and knowledge in formulation of the Rural Roads Manual and other aspects of Pradhan Mantri Gram Sadak Yojana. He has authored many papers on roads, environment, green highways, etc., and has travelled widely around the world on various government assignments.
S.S. Rathore is currently overseeing many projects such as the nearly completed LEEDS UK Gold rated Green Building of Jilla Seva Sadan (housing all government offices and residences at Vyara), six laning of Bagodara-Vasad under BOT with GVK, and Gujarat State Highway Project-II which envisages a model Green Highway and a Model Safe Highway.