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    Published On : Mon, Mar 3rd, 2014

    VED urges Shiv Sena to take positive stand on Vidarbha

    Nagpur News : According to news published in several newspapers a few days back, the Shiv Sena has opposed the creation of a separate state of Vidarbha and has been opposing Vidarbha Statehood for a long time. Vidarbhaites feel it is important that this major political party soften its stand and accept the legitimate demand for a separate state of Vidarbha and show its sensitivity towards the development of 2.3 crore Marathi Manoos who live in Vidarbha. This would be the fair thing for Uddhavji and his party to do feels VED, informed Devendra Parekh, President, Vidarbha Economic Development Council (VED) in a Press release today.

    According to release , IPP – VED, Vilas Kale, is deeply moved by the discrimination and bias of the Govt. against Vidarbha. According to Kale, the Shiv Sena should be aware of the fact that Vidarbhites are being denied their rightful place in the growth and development story of the Nation & the State. They are sure to be aware of what our GDP is and per capita income are. There is a glaring discrepancy for all to see. How many jobs does Vidarbha create every year? Why are our bright, educated young people forced to leave their home and seek jobs in Western Maharashtra, year in and year out?

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    The late Hon’ble Balasaheb Thakre had himself publicly stated at his huge rally at Ramtek in 1996, while releasing the Bhagavi Patrika that if in 4 years the YUTI government was unable to develop Vidarbha, he would himself see that it was made a separate state. The fact is that it could not do the promised development and hence there is no reason why Shiv Sena should now dither from its Solemn Affirmation made before the Public. Surely they were not merely hollow promises made by Hindu Hridaya Samrat? In fact, a commitment made by the Founder should now be honoured by being implemented by his son and present Leader, Shri Uddhav Thakre, as a true tribute to his memory.

    VED appeals to Shiv Sena not to politicize this issue which is actually one of economic deprivation and poverty inflicted on the region and its people by failed governance of the state as a whole, in the last 60 yrs. The emotional sentiment of Marathi Manoos, is, at best, a convenient ploy. How can the ‘Marathiness’ of us, Vidarbhaites, be affected or lost if we become a separate state?

    In spite of the huge and positive response to the Referendums held at Amravati, Nagpur, Chandrapur and Yavatmal, if the Shiv Sena leaders of Vidarbha fail to convince their Leadership about supporting this demand, it will be hard for Vidarbha to forgive them.

    According to the Nagpur PACT (1953), it would be clear that after Vidarbha was merged into bi-lingual state in 1956 and then in Maharashtra in 1960, Vidarbha was never given its due share in development and Vidarbha continued to be underdeveloped in the regimes of various Governments and unfortunately in your Government of 1995-1999. During this period, all efforts were made to mobilize Krishna Valley Development Corporation in Western Maharashtra but not much was done to remove the irrigation backlog of Vidarbha which ultimately lead to creation of new backlog in this region. Neither were appropriate funds given to this region nor jobs created, ultimately leading to creation of more backlog in various sectors of this region.

    Further, according to the Recommendations of Professor Dandekar Committee (1983) it clearly mentioned that there was a backlog of Rs. 8326 crores in Vidarbha which recommended that 85% of developmental funds should be spent on the underdeveloped regions like Vidarbha and Marathwada and the balance 15% funds on developed regions. The Government of Maharashtra never accepted this report in totality and no provision has been made for the developmental of Vidarbha.

    It was also recommended to shift industries out of the Mumbai, Nashik, Pune, the Golden Triangle, to various other regions of the state by creating infrastructure there. Unfortunately, this was never followed so the status today is that Vidarbha region lacks badly in terms of industrialization and unemployment with just 382 employment per thousand against 570 of Marathwada and 781 of the rest of Maharastra.

    The Fact is that those who oppose have no love lost for us Vidarbhites, they don’t live and work here, otherwise they would have known how frustrating it is to get even basic Infrastructure like Irrigation for the region, forget other development.

    The Government of Maharashtra in the last 50 years has never ever given Vidarbha irrigation a proper thought. The 585 TMC water in Krishna Valley and Western Maharashtra gets a separate ministry with complete staff and 800 TMC water in Vidarbha is not even considered a potential to be explored. Needless to mention, the problems of forest and Vidarbha is adding more to the situation. In spite of the Governor of Maharashtra giving clear instructions to pay special attention for forest clearances for irrigation projects, the Government of Maharashtra has shown no interest in this and has made no provisions for afforestation and compensation, if any. It is noteworthy that the forest department state and central are taking 10-15 years to clear projects.
    Out of the total irrigation backlog of the state 60% backlog is of Vidarbha 28% of Marathwada and 12% of rest of Maharashtra. The backlog of Pune Division is nil and whatever backlog is there is of Konkan and under-developed regions of Northern Maharashtra. The Government of Maharashtra’s irrigation department has not even made planning for 187 TMC of water in Vidarbha and this water is flowing into the neighbouring states without any benefit for Vidarbha. It is noteworthy that this Vidarbha region, reeling under great agrarian crisis and farmer suicides, is one of the most undeveloped regions of the sate and is the suicide capital of India.
    As for the Maji Malgujari Tanks (MaMa Tanks) there are 6862 Mama tanks in Vidarbha in the four eastern districts of Bhandara, Gondia, Gadchiroli and Chandrapur. The irrigation potential of these Mama tanks is approximately 1.26 lacs hectares. These tanks not only help irrigation but are of immense use of fisheries, production of water weeds and production of rice in summer season. Unfortunately, after taking over these tanks in 1950 from their owners (Malgujars) the Government has not done anything for the operation and maintenance of these tanks. Most of these tanks are of not much use these days, thus, lowering the irrigation potential of this region.
    We are glad that at least the leaders of BJP have reaffirmed their stand in support of Vidarbha State, but they also must take concrete steps and include it in their Manifesto, otherwise the people of Vidarbha will feel that it’s only another smart political trick played on us. Partners in an alliance can agree to disagree on an issue or two. The Shiv Sena should agree to take a reasonable stand in support while the BJP should now act decisively, and without any further delay.


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