A Vidarbha Economic Development Council (VED) delegation comprising Devendra Parekh, President, Rahul Upganlawar, Secretary General, and Pradeep Maheshwari, Member and minerals expert, met Uddhav Thackeray, Subhash Desai, Minister for Industries, Krupal Tumane, MP from Ramtek and Ashish Jaiswal ex-MLA from Ramtek and apprised Thackeray of the investment prospects in Vidarbha. Parekh further informed Thackeray about VED which is an organisation that selflessly works for the economic development of Vidarbha in all possible areas that would bring progress to the region through enhanced earning avenues. He said that VED had studied and identified some areas as a good potential for economic development.
Some of the areas of which VED informed Thackeray were the setting up of an Oil Refinery and Petro Chemical Complex in NIMZ, Umrer or Gondia due to which MIHAN would get a boost, a lower ATF price would attract airlines, lower costs would apply to all Petroleum products and petrochemicals coming to the region and surrounding states like CG, MP and Telangana.
VED spoke of a Defense Equipment Manufacturing hub which is possible as MIHAN has enough land and a world-class infrastructure ready to attract large investors. Opening up 49% FDI in the sector is the incentive, besides, it is a central location, best for distribution of finished products to border areas with large storage.
A very modern Auto Component Hub in Bhandara would be ideal as the main automobile manufacturing hubs are currently in Gurgaon, Chennai and Pune. Vidarbha region is equi- distant from all these places. OEMs 40-50%, spares sales 20-25% and exports 20-25% from CONCOR, the project in Nagpur makes it very attractive. All inputs like alloy steel, long products, flat products, cheaper land, and trained man power from ITI and engineering colleges are available in the vicinity.
A Ferro-Alloys cluster in Tumsar was suggested. Near Tumsar Adani Power is operating one of the largest power generation units and MOIL is producing a large quantity of good quality Manganese-Ore. The country’s largest steel producer JSW is also working in Maharashtra. Here in this cluster, Adani Power can supply quality non-interrupted power, MOIL can supply Manganese-Ore and JSW steel will provide the breakeven security by consuming 30-40% of the production in this cluster. This cluster will be the lowest cost producer of ferro-alloys within the country. Other steel plants like Bhilai Steel Plant and Sunflag Steel will also get benefitted.
A gas-based Fertilizer Complex near Narkhed (Katol) was suggested. Presently the entire fertilizer requirement is sourced from long distance plants. At present 2 large gas pipe-lines of GAIL and GSPCL are passing through Vidarbha as the cross-country gas network planning of the Govt. which is a major feed stock for a Fertilizer complex. This project is very important for the region.
A Warehousing and Distribution Park would also be very advantageous especially in the GST scenario. Nagpur’s centrality makes it very good for distribution of goods to the whole country as most of the trains, trucks and airlines cross through. With GST to be a reality soon many companies will establish warehousing and distribution facilities in Nagpur.
Mining of Minerals needs attention for allowing mining as Coal, Manganese, Iron Ore, Limestone, Dolomite, Quartz, Copper are all available in bulk here. The environment impact assessment creates a double opportunity as the repair of environment damaged by mining will also be a big job-creating opportunity. This type of large mining will support steel and other value-addition projects and the Railways will also get maximum business in the movement of minerals and finished products.
A large railway coach, wagons, components, wheels assembling and related equipment manufacturing facility can come up near Nagpur as a maximum number of inputs like steel, wood, water, man-power are all available in the vicinity.
A Textile Complex can be set up here based on the quality cotton available. Polyester yarn, Cotton yarn, both can produce blended products needed for different textiles. All major and small units can support weaving and processing of clothes like cotton, denim, polyester, etc. With coal available nearby and the central location of Nagpur, it can become textile hub like Surat in Gujarat and Bhilwara in Rajasthan.
For the development of Gadchiroli a few projects were suggested among them a large Steel Plant in Gadchiroli on the lines of the one in Bhilai. There are 400 Million Tonnes of Iron Ore reserves there where companies can’t start due to insurgency issues. With the help of the Central Govt. and deployment of CISF security, mining production can start. With Coal, Manganese, Limestone, Dolomite, Quartz, Water, Power this steel plant can become the lowest cost producer of Steel. Besides all Maharashtra has the largest consumption of Steel which is currently sourced from other states.
All such large employment generating projects are a must to boost the economy of the backward Vidarbha region. VED members informed that Thackeray was very forthcoming and assuring all help in implementing the plans, said he would study the matters in depth as early as possible. He instructed the Shiv Sena ministers present there to take up Vidarbha development issues on priority.