THE STATE government on Friday announced a special package of Rs 22,122 crore for the development of the backward districts of Vidarbha, Marathwada and north Maharashtra.
The focus would be on the development of industries, irrigation facilities and agriculture in these regions, Finance Minister Sudhir Mungantiwar said on the last day of the Monsoon Session of the Assembly in Nagpur.
Maintaining that the budget will focus on micro development of the talukas, he added: “The approach will be to concentrate on smaller projects and provide work and livelihood to the people.”
The minister said Rs 13,422crore has been allotted to complete 89 irrigation projects in the three regions, which would help create additional irrigation potential in an area of 2.56 lakh hectares.
In north Maharashtra — comprising Ahmednagar, Dhule, Jalgaon, Nandurbar and Nashik — Rs 1,158 crore have been earmarked to provide 52,969 agriculture pump connections to farmers. Also, 44 new agriculture growth centres would come up there.
To increase participation of women in the agriculture sector and facilitate setting up of agro processing units, the government has earmarked Rs 65 crore. Moreover, drip irrigation subsidy has been increased by 15 per cent and Rs 100 crore allotted for the same. As many as Rs 500 crore has been set aside for water conservation projects.
While in Vidarbha’s Yavatmal district, Chintamani Nagari and Kalamb have been provided Rs 10 crore each for development projects, in Chandrapur district, Nagbheed and Brahmapuri bagged four brown rice processing clusters. Further, cloth clusters will come up in Nagpur and Wardha district at an estimated cost of Rs 1 crore.
In Wardha rural, malls and agro malls based on public-private-participation has been sanctioned. Akola and Amravati have been shortlisted for new agro centres.
On the lines of ICRA, information centres will be set up in Vidarbha. While Rs 250 crore has been earmarked to upgrade agriculture universities, the government would provide 19,000 self-help groups in the 11 districts of Vidarbha and eight districts of Marathwada goat and sheep at a 50 per cent subsidy.
In Gadchiroli district of Vidarbha, a milk collection network and processing facilities would be created. A new government milk brand ‘Gondavana’ would be created on the lines of the Mahananda brand and 1,100 acres would be provided for the same.
A medical college would be set up on a private-public-partnership model at Washim in Virdarbha, and the government would bear the costs of setting up a dental college on the same premises, the minister said. Also, a “skill university” would come up at Aurangabad in Marathwada, while hostels would be constructed in all the districts of Vidarbha and Marathwada, he added.
Leader of Opposition Radhakrishna VIkhe-Patil and NCP’s Jayant Patil dismissed the plans as poll sops. “The government’s plan is to tackle the unrest at the backward regions of rural Maharashtra. The BJP government always makes plans on paper, which are never realised,” Vikhe-Patil said, while wondering how the government will raise the funds to implement the plans in a time-bound manner.