Modi flies to Guwahati on February 9

Vol 22, PW 8 (07 Feb 19) News in Brief

Narendra Modi is expected to give a ringing endorsement to plans to set up a northeast gas grid as well as a bamboo-fired bio-refinery at Numaligarh when he visits Guwahati in Assam on February 9.

An Assam government source tells us Modi reaches Guwahati on the night of February 8 and will stay at Raj Bhavan (Governor House). The next day he will fly at the crack of dawn to Itanagar in Arunachal Pradesh by helicopter and return to Changsari near Guwahati where he will make announcements about a new hospital, a bridge over the Brahmaputra River, as well as the two showcase oil and gas projects.

"He will leave for Delhi by 2.30pm the same day," we hear. With elections expected in April or May, Modi is hyping plans to set up a pipeline network feeding gas to eight northeastern states implemented by Indradhanush Gas Grid, a JV of IOC, GAIL, ONGC, Oil India and Numaligarh Refinery.

Our source speculates the cabinet will in the next few days clear a government grant of 60% of the Rs9265cr ($1.3bn) project cost or Rs5520cr ($780m) to ensure it is viable.