In a glittering Sesquicentennial Celebration of Nagpur Municipal Corporation with President Pranab Mukherjee as the Chief Guest and many high-ranking dignitaries gracing the occasion made the event a grand one.
While delivering an extempore speech, President of India Pranab Mukherjee displayed his eloquence and knowledge about Nagpur in a short 20 minute power-packed speech. While lauding the NMC for its achievements in the citizens centric
Amenities like 24X7 drinking water supply, converting sewage as a resource and efficient self governance, he told the NMC authorities that there are many more mile-stones to be laid and progress achieved.
He expressed his happiness to be part of the completion of 151 years of existing Local Government Body (NMC). He took the audience through a bit of history where he related about the transfer of administration from the Mercantile Company (East India Company) to the British Government. He added that the British ruled nearly 100 years over India and after Independence how the concept of Self Governance was translated right from the Central Government to the State Government right to the villages having their own self governance. It was in continuation of this concept of Modern Local Self Governance that the Municipal Corporations were established. However, he claimed that this was not a new concept for India, since this Local Self Governance existed in ancient India too. He added that there is a mention about this even in Rig Veda.
The old British positions of Patwari, Tehsildar, Fauzdar were replaced by well established self governance concepts of sharing authorities.
While describing about Nagpur’s glorious history, President Pranab Mukherjee said that Nagpur witnessed the rise and fall of many dynasties, of how Gond kings rule was followed by Bhonsale’s rule and eventually to the British rule. He pointed out the Nagpur was known for the second Mercantile company called the Bengal Railway Company the headquarters of which was Nagpur. He claimed that since Nagpur was the centre of the erstwhile British empire in India, Nagpur played a significant role which led to the establishment of the Zero Mile Stone.
He also explained about the cosmopolitan image of Nagpur right from the early days. He added that people who came to work in Nagpur did not want to leave Nagpur and return to their native places even after their retirement because of various conducive factors which existed even from olden days and exists even today. This is also because of the cultural assimilation and the capacity of the local residents to absorb outsiders as their near and dear ones.
While completing its 151 years NMC has achieved many significant milestones, however there are many more to be achieved. He explained how NMC catered to various civic amenities to 180000 population then to 25 lakh population now. He called Nagpur as one of the largest Urban Conglomeration. He claimed that 25 lakh people now enjoy the benefits of NMC. He claimed that NMC has undertaken many important citizen-centric projects and has successfully completed them for the benefit of the citizens of Nagpur. He lauded the project of Sewage as a resource, management of waste/garbage etc.
While lauding Surface Transport Minister, he claimed him to be efficient in managing most complex problems in a short time.
He claimed that urban planning and development has taken ages, decades or even centuries in many countries, but with Industrialization India was able to face urbanization well. He claimed that many still wonder that after 65 years of Independence how long do we have to wait for development and progress? However, the current rate in which Nagpur Municipal Corporation is managing various developmental projects, Nagpur will certainly see progress soon.
However he added one of the basic principles of self governance is that the onus of progress and development does not rely on elected representatives only. It is a cumulative responsibility of the Elected and the Elector. When both perform their role well, nothing can stop the progress from becoming a reality.
Calling NMC as Largest Urban Conglomeration and a cradle of historical development in post Independence era, President Pranab Mukherjee said that Nagpur will certainly witness many more milestones in Modern India soon.
He claimed that there needs a change of attitude to work as a catalytic agent in the development of the city. NMC should be ideal in its outlook of a cosmopolitan image. There should be no room for intolerance. Everybody should work together and grow together so that it becomes a lesson for other cities. He claimed that NMC has done well in 150 years. No doubt that after achievement of this state, there are many more feathers in way of laurels that will don your cap. While concluding, he congratulated everybody who had a part (both past and present) in the development of the NMC.
Earlier the programme started with the first citizen Mayor Praveen Datke delivered his introductory speech where he claimed that NMC was established in 1864 and 14 villages were combined to make Nagpur Municipal Corporation. He said that in those days street lights were lit with kerosene lamps, while we have electric street lights throughout the city on nearly 2682 kilometer stretch. From supplying 250 MLD to the citizens, today we are supplying 2500 MLD of drinking water to the citizens of Nagpur. The standard of our schools are at par with any other school, with some of our students scoring 95.94% in the SSC examination. He added that Nagpur has been chosen to be one of the Smart cities. We have ensured that NMC has strived to give employment to our youth, encourage sports, culture and arts. Praveen Datke expressed his gratitude to all who strived to make this city what it is today right from its inception.
Surface Transport Minister Nitin Gadkari while addressing the august gathering exclaimed that he is happy to be part of the 150 years celebration. He claimed that he is also happy that the President of India is with us in the celebration. He welcomed the president to the land where zero mile of India exists. He added that in 1.5 hours one can reach any metro city from Nagpur. Nitin Gadkari claimed that many leaders who were elected as Mayor and went on to become state ministers and cabinet ministers. He mentioned about the first Mayor of Nagpur Barrister Sheshrao Wankhede who went on to become State Minister followed by him becoming the Cabinet Minister and as a Speaker of Legislative Assembly.
While elaborating the achievement of NMC, he said that for the first time in India 24X7 water supply project was successfully completed. He added that Nagpur citizens do not undertake Morchas for drinking water. He also said Nagpur is the first city to sell garbage and get a royalty of 18 crores. We have experimented on bio-gas (Ethanol) run buses.
He lauded NMC and said that he is proud of its achievements and soon Nagpur will become a clean city rich with History, Culture, Arts and Sports.
Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis before starting his address welcomed the President of India Pranab Mukherjee to Nagpur. He claimed that he too has a share in the development of Nagpur since he too was a Mayor of Nagpur. He said that when we look back Nagpur was always waited for a chance for development and has progressed well.
Devendra Fadnavis claimed that Nagpur provides such a conducive atmosphere that whoever comes to work in Nagpur do not want to leave Nagpur and go back to their native place. They settle down here. Nagpur is a home to many people from various ethnicity and the people of Nagpur too have adopted them. He added that Nagpur is on the way to become an ideal city soon and every citizen strives to make Nagpur an ideal city in his or her own way.
He also said that he wants Nagpur to get two more identities
- As an Education Hub: Many steps have been taken to host many reputed educational institutions of different streams of specializations
- As an Industrial Hub: He wants to see Nagpur as a good city for trade and commerce.
Last 100 years Nagpur has been one of the important cities in India and is on its way to become a role model city in Central India.
He assured NMC authorities that whatever pro-citizens projects NMC undertakes, the Maharashtra Government will support and stand by it. He too concluded by lauding the NMC for its feats.