NEW DELHI: The chief ministers of many states made good use of their time in the national capital — where they have arrived to attend the Niti Aayog conclave — to network with Union ministers and press for projects in their respective regions. Union Minister of Road and Surface Transport Nitin Gadkari, Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman, Minister for Jal Shakti Gajendra Shekhawat and Minister for Agriculture and Farmers’ Welfare Narendra Singh Tomar appeared to be the most sought-after ministers.
With the Union Budget set to be unveiled next month, the visiting CMs seemingly presented their wish lists to the ministers. The Budget is expected to give a major push to infrastructure projects, including rejuvenation of water sources, in the wake of drought-like conditions prevailing in several states.
Maharashtra CM Devendra Fadnavis called on Minister of State for Civil Aviation Hardeep Singh Puri and discussed issues pertaining to Nagpur and Mumbai airports, besides Nagpur Metro phase 2 and Prime Minister Awas Yojna Urban. He also called on Shekhawat to press for measures to deal with drought-like conditions in the state. “We discussed issues, including water scarcity in Maharashtra, including interlinking of rivers,” Fadnavis told reporters after the meeting.
Tamil Nadu CM EK Palaniswami called on Sitharaman and submitted a memorandum on the state’s demands. He also met Gadkari later. Karnataka CM H D Kumaraswamy also met Sitharaman and Shekhawat to raise issues specific to the state. Gujarat CM Vijay Rupani called on Tomar and raised the issue of financial support to farmers. Uttarakhand chief minister Trivendra Singh Rawat, in his meeting with Gadkari, discussed the progress of scores of road projects in the hill state. Kerala and Rajasthan CMs Pinarayi Vijayan and Ashok Gehlot, respectively, also met Gadkari and other central ministers to press for expediting road projects and other schemes in their respective states.