Co incidentally, the last day of the winter session of the Maharashtra assembly which happened in Nagpur for the first time with a Nagpur CM, is coming at an end on Christmas eve. The season of new hope and cheer. So when Nagpurians go to sleep tonight with stockings hanging from their bed posts ( as the Christmas fable goes) what will Santa Claus fill it with at midnight? What are the gifts this city will get for Christmas and New Year?
It is no doubt “our C.M.” has lots of new things planned for Nagpur – his heart is definitely in the right place. He worked very hard and was very active : we got used to the whirring of helicopters in the Nagpur skies as he sped from one place to the other inaugurating things / events / and attending important dos. Btut what have been the concrete achievements – what are projects on the anvil?
Here is a list of the goodies that have been promised for Nagpur and Vidarbha:
- Fast track progress of MIHAN and ensuring stalled projects restart work.
- An Indian Institute of Management – probably temporarily housed in VNIT campus.
- An AIMS like Delhi.
- Resolution of high power tarrifs for MIHAN and other Nagpur industries.
- Animal rescue centre and zoo at Gorewada to be developed as tourist attraction.
- Forrests around Nagpur/ Chandrapur (Tadoba-Pench-Nagzira-Navegaon) to be interconnected through jungles ‘corridors’ so wild life can intermingle and propogate better, rather than getting unhealthy by inbreeding. Crores of saplings planted and nourished. Forrest based industries like Handlooms to be given a phillip so tribals and villagers living inside forested lands have an incentive to protect them.
- Agri produce export parks to be set up on PP basis.
- Renovation and increasing of facilities at Amraoti and Akola airports.
- Industries based on minerals to be promoted.
To make good on his promises and personally ensure that development happens, Devendra Fadnavis has declared that he will definitely spend two days in a month on issues of Vidarbha.
All this is very heartening; but let us also look at the ground realities and what has been actually executed. (Probably it will show the lacunae where bureaucrats may be dragging their feet in implementing the C.M. and the Ministry’s decisions). This is not NT being a doubting Thomas but just providing some pointers for the administration.
- Speaking at the CEAT new tyre factory foundation-stone function, CM Fadnavis declared that he would not let the industries in MIDC, Hingna suffer due to the RRZ policy which is hanging as a threat on the existence of hundreds of industries. They had been exempted from the provisions of the rule. But the reality is that no GR has been issued and the industries are still facing hurdles getting their licenses renewed. The biggest stumbling block is the Pollution Control Board which takes arbitrary decisions and is very industry unfriendly.
- Power continues being prohibitively expensive, even in Vidarbha which is a net power producer and ‘exporter’.
- The entry tax levied by neighboring BJP ruled states like M.P. and Chattisgarh and lack of any such tax for outsiders in Maharashtra has already ensured closure of many industries of Nagpur who have lost business to even big traders of M.P. who manage to get SSI registrations easily here. Some modalities need to be worked out between these three states so more industries do not suffer.
- While AIMS project has still not been jettisoned due to lack of 100+ acres land available in one parcel the teaching hospital project within MIHAN has not had its problems looked into since they failed to get even an appointment with the CM’s or relevant Minister’s office.
- The effluent treatment central facility that MIDC, Hingna industries have been requesting for urgently has still not been granted. Industries based here have to send their waste to Butibori treatment plant spending thousands of rupees on transport while the actual waste treatment takes only Rupees few hundred . Butibori industries are also complaining about lack of support facilities.
- Despite having an ‘international airport’ Nagpur has no connectivity to many metros of the country like Chennai, Hyderabad etc. Rather than mentioning places it doesn’t have a connection to it could be recorded that it has direct flights to only – Mumbai, Pune, Delhi, Calcutta and Banglore.
Intentions are all very good; but just by themselves they will not transform a city and a region that has suffered from many decades of neglect.
To end this piece on a positive note though, the projects undertaken by Forest departments have been very successful as can be seen from the new tiger cubs one gets to see readily in both Pench and Tadoba. They at least, are the harbingers of hope for all of us living in this wilderness called Vidarbha!