What has PM Modi NOT inaugurated (yet)?
From FM transmitters and five-star hotels, to not-yet-functional airports and slower-than-50-years-older 'express' trains, there is a lot on the PM's list alongside the new parliament building
Cracking a joke at prime ministers and chief ministers can turn out to be expensive, as people have learnt to their cost. But cartoonists have had a field day and most of them, mercifully, have been left alone till now.
The inauguration sprees by the prime minister, which accelerate as elections draw near, have however gone beyond a joke.
On 27 February this year, Prime Minister Modi inaugurated the Shivamogga Airport in Karnataka. Of course, this was several weeks before the Karnataka Assembly election in May. The election is now over, but three months down the line, not a single flight has taken off from or landed at the airport. The inauguration cost the state government Rs21 crore.
A casual Google search for ‘PM Inaugurates…’ threw up a mind-boggling array of 'events' headlined by the prime minister. Therefore, the question is, is there anything that the PM has NOT inaugurated?
Modi is of course known to have ‘inaugurated’ — or flagged off — each of the 18 or 19 Vande Bharat semi-high-speed trains, which can run at a maximum speed of 160 kmph but which actually run at speeds below the maximum operational speed of the Rajdhani and Shatabdi trains, the former ‘inaugurated’ in 1969, over half a century ago. The Vande Bharat train, media reports suggest, is running at a speed of 65 kmph in Uttarakhand.
The casual Google search also revealed the following inaugurations done by the PM this year alone, in 2023. It is not exhaustive and only a few states have been covered. But it is sufficient to give us an idea of what the ‘inauguration minister’ has been up to. This is necessarily an incomplete and not an exhaustive list:
1. Electrified broad gauge railway line
2. World-class railway station in Bhopal
3. The longest railway platform in Karnataka
4. Five-star hotel in Gujarat
5. Statue of Equality in Hyderabad
6. First phase of Delhi–Mumbai Expressway
7. Terminal building of Chennai airport
8. Two additional railway lines connecting Thane and Diva in Mumbai
9. Permanent campus of IIT, Dharwad
10. Solid waste-based bio-CNG plant
11. FM transmitters
12. Rock temple
13. Science City
With the general election and four state elections due in the next one year, it is anybody’s guess what else the PM is going to inaugurate. As reported in the media, he even inaugurated the Twitter handle of the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI).
Today on 28 May, of course, the PM is ‘inaugurating’ the new building of parliament, so that's one more ribbon cut, curtain drawn. However, the list above does not include the inauguration of projects worth thousands of crore that he routinely unveils/flags off in different states — power plants, solar plants and most of the highways and expressways, finished or not.
The consolidated figure of the cost of such inaugurations by the prime minister is not available anywhere. RTI applications for the information, one suspects, will also draw a blank.
So, the question remains. What is it that the prime minister has not yet inaugurated?