Nagpur: The first speaker of the day Amit Waikar, who as we had mentioned earlier is the Sr. Vice President, Sales at Dohler group and President of India Association at Shanghai, pointed out that Nagpur had all that it takes to be like Wuhan in the Central Provinces of China. There are a lot of similarities.
To begin with, Wuhan is right at the centre of China, just like Nagpur is at the heart of India. The weather it has is similar to Nagpur’s dry weather with extremes of summer and winter too.
But there are many differences – Wuhan is at the confluence of three rivers and uses them all as waterways for goods transportation too.
It is a rich city. The city’s GDP exceeded 800 billion CNY, growing at an annual rate of 11.4 percent. (Chinese Yuan equals Rs. 10.40 of Indian currency).GDP per capita was approximately 64,000CNY as of 2009. In 2013, the city’s annual average disposable income was 23,738.09 CNY, which is expected to increase by 14 percent over the next year.
An Important trade centre. Wuhan, as you can learn from some google browsing is an important center for economy, trade, finance, transportation, information technology, and education in China. Its major industries includes optic-electronic, automobile manufacturing, iron and steel manufacturing, new pharmaceutical sector, biology engineering, new materials industry and environmental protection. Wuhan Iron and Steel (Group) Co. and Dongfeng-Citroen Automobile Co., Ltd headquartered in the city. Environmental sustainability is highlighted in Wuhan’s list of emerging industries, which include energy efficiency technology and renewable energy.
One of the top metropolis of China Wuhan is close to Shanghai, Beijing, and Guangzhou in its volume of retail, and is among the top list of China’s metropolises. Wuhan Department Store, Zhongshang Company, Hanyang Department Store, and Central Department Store enjoy highest reputation and are Wuhan’s four major commercial enterprises and listed companies. Hanzhengjie Small Commodities Market has been prosperous for hundreds of years and enjoys a worldwide reputation.
A Centre for Education There are 35 higher educational institutions including the well-known Wuhan University, Huazhong University of Science and Technology, 3 state-level development zones and many enterprise incubators. Wuhan ranks third in China in overall strength of science and technology.
So what stops Nagpur?
By co incidence, Nagpur’s Municipal Commissioner, Shravan Hardikar gave a key note address immediately after Waikar made his presentation about Wuhan’s similarities to Nagpur.
Hardikar pointed out all the benefits Nagpur has to offer which we all know well now. Centre of the country, zero milestone, many trains passing through it, an international airport, MIHAN, an educational centre etc. etc.
He also added a new point which we are aware of, but not consciously so! He said Nagpur was a unique city that had three dense jungle areas INSIDE the city. Seminary Hills; Gorewada and areas behind Ambazari lake.
Immediately after his inspiring talk, an American delegate to GNS, Clare Petrich asked Hardikar what was the procedure to acquire land for any project in Nagpur? (In China, the city Mayor has all the powers to do so at his discretion).
Hardikar explained how in Nagpur it would involve either taking permission from NMC or NIT or MADC ( if you want it in MIHAN) or MIDC if you want it in Butibori or Hingna etc. etc. By the end of his explanation, even the Nagpur audience could not be forgiven for being confused, let alone foreigners!
On the sidelines, one of the Nagpur Corporate leaders could not help commenting that Nagpur administrators do not walk the talk.
His company, jointly with Rotary clubs of Nagpur, had wanted to set up public toilets which they would maintain themselves. They only wanted land at some places to do so and the permission to charge the user a nominal amount – just like Sulabh does. They met with so many hurdles and objections that they dropped the CSR project altogether.
Where is the political commitment?
It was saddening to note that while so many foreign Embassy officials were in Nagpur to talk about Nagpur’s development, our own local leaders did not have the time to attend.
While the Dy High Commissioner of UK, Kumar Iyer was addressing Nagpurians on his maiden visit to our city, the CM, Devendra Fadnavis who was in Nagpur as usual for the weekend chose to go to Tadoba to view Tigers! After having agreed to attend and give the key note address on the first day.
On the second day, Nitin Gadkari – who also comes to Nagpur on weekends – was expected, but did not come.
One wonders when our PM. Modi is leaving no stones unturned in wooing investments from abroad, why this subject is not taken seriously by other politicians of BJP?