Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis gave his native Nagpur a special gift as 2014-15 drew to a close. On March 31, Fadnavis routed Rs 100 crore to his hometown by tapping CM’s discretionary funds. Official sources said the funds were meant for road development work in Nagpur city.
The state’s 2015-16 budget, the Fadnavis government’s first, had already set aside the highest amount from development funds for the Vidarbha region. It had also projected a 42 per cent increase in spending in Nagpur’s district plan.
The CM, who is a staunch supporter of separate statehood for Vidarbha, has been vocal in his criticism of the erstwhile Congress-NCP regime for “sidestepping Nagpur’s development”.
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Admitting to have routed the discretionary funds for development in Nagpur, Fadnavis accused the previous regime of diverting “special funds” earmarked for “state’s deputy capital” in the last 12 years. “Nagpur is the state’s deputy capital. Though the previous regime earmarked Rs 20 crore as special funds for the region’s development, these were not released,” Fadnavis said.
To route this development grant to Nagpur, Fadnavis has dug into discretionary funds available under the Maharashtra Suvarna Jayanti Nagarothan Abhiyaan for 2014-15. Though he said he had also sanctioned funds for development work in Aurangabad, Latur (Marathwada), Dhule, Amravati (both Vidarbha) and Mira Bhayander (Mumbai Metropolitan Region), Fadnavis admitted that Nagpur bagged the lion’s share (Rs 100 crore out of Rs 150-odd crore) from these funds.
The plan is to put these funds to use for a Rs 300-crore project for concretisation of Nagpur roads. “Besides Rs 100 crore from the state, the local municipal corporation and the Nagpur Improvement Trust will contribute Rs 100 crore each towards the project,” said Nagpur Mayor Pravin Latke.
Fadnavis said he had directed the civic body to submit a detailed project report in this regard. “The plan is to improve arterial roads in the city,” he said.