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Act East: Operationalise infrastructure projects in phases, says PM Modi

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Prime Minister Narendra Modi has directed the cabinet secretary to prepare a methodology to operationalise infrastructure projects in phases as and when ready, rather than waiting for the completion of the entire work. This came amidst PM also asking ministries to accord priority to infrastructure projects in East India, a region where BJP wants to make political inroads.

At a February 24 review meeting, whose minutes ET has reviewed, Modi has directed that planning for all infrastructure projects “should be redesigned to adopt a pragmatic and a commercial approach”. This would involve a project being compartmentalised into sections that can be operationalised as and when ready, the PM has directed, as per the minutes.

ET has learnt that the new methodology has since been under preparation under cabinet secretary Rajiv Gauba.

In line with the new approach, the Ahmedabad-Mumbai High-Speed Train project is expected to be operationalised in the Gujarat section earlier than in Maharashtra.

Act East, PM directs

At the February 24 meeting, the PM also directed that priority be accorded by central ministries and state governments on infrastructure projects like rail and road in the eastern part of India. This came while the PM was reviewing projects like doubling of a 159-km railway line in Jharkhand, the 45-km capital connectivity project between Sivok and Rangpo in West Bengal and Sikkim, the Jagdishpur-Haldia-Dhamra pipeline project in Odisha and West Bengal, and a 350-km road project between Aizawl and Tuipang in Mizoram. The PM described the last project as an “important part” of India’s ‘Act East Policy’, while directing for speedy completion of all the said projects.

The PM also directed that states accord priority to roads constructed under the Bharatmala Pariyojana and provide the necessary support for timely completion, while reviewing an economic corridor project in Tamil Nadu.

Single-use plastic

Modi has directed the Ministry of Environment to issue the final notification on single-use plastic by July 2021, and said all states should form a special task force to work on the elimination of the material in a mission mode. “Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change and all states should launch a targeted and wider awareness campaign and organise a hackathon and seek to engage startups to promote innovations in areas of alternate materials, recycling, circular economy etc.,” the PM said.

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