In the race to beat the model code of conduct, government officials have worked out an itinerary for Prime Minister Narendra Modi that involves inaugurating infrastructure projects in the four poll-bound states — Haryana, Maharashtra, Jammu and Kashmir and Jharkhand.
Eight projects across three of these states — J&K, Maharashtra and Haryana — have been inaugurated so far in the last 10 days. Three projects across Jharkhand and Maharashtra are lined up for Thursday.
Sources said that union ministers have been put in charge of shepherding central public sector undertakings to identify projects and then organise the events on the ground in these states. The specific mandate for the state-owned companies — Indian Oil Corporation, Gail India, Power Grid Corporation, NTPC Ltd and National Highways Authority of India — includes the finalisation of the list of infrastructure projects in the four states where the PM can either lay the foundation stone, or which he can “dedicate to the nation”.
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PSUs across ministries have been asked to work together on the projects, offering a rare glimpse of inter-ministerial synergy. For PSUs, according to the brief given to them, it’s a race against time to identify suitable projects in these four states and get as many of them inaugurated before the model code of conduct kicks in, notwithstanding the fact that a majority of the projects being “dedicated to the nation” were commissioned during the tenure of the outgoing UPA government.
According to an officer involved in the exercise, on August 21, Modi is slated to go to Jharkhand to dedicate the 765kV Ranchi-Dharamjaygarh-Sipat Inter-regional transmission line in Ranchi and inaugurate the “commencement of work” at NTPC’s North Karanpura thermal project at Chatra. He is also slated to go to Maharashtra a second time to “dedicate to the nation” NTPC’s Mauda thermal station, a project that began commercial generation in March 2014 when the UPA was in power.
Till now, the PM has covered three states. On August 16, he “dedicated to the nation” the 765 kV Raipur-Solapur transmission project line, which was commissioned on June 30, and four laning of the Pune-Solapur section of NH-9. On the same day, Modi was in Sheva in Navi Mumbai laying the foundation stone of Jawaharlal Nehru Port Trust Special Economic Zone and a port connectivity road.
On August 12, Modi covered Jammu and Kashmir, laid the foundation stone of a transmission line and “dedicated to the nation” two hydro power projects. Then on August 19, Modi travelled to Haryana, laying the foundation stone of 166 km Kaithal-Rajasthan border section of NH-152/65.