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‘Post Nisarga, main task is to encourage farmers to cultivate again’: Aditi Tatkare

"I think for at least another year or two or until a vaccine is available, there is great scope for local tourism. People will be skeptical to move out, some countries may not allow foreign tourists," said Tatkare

Written by MAYURA JANWALKAR | Mumbai |
September 7, 2020 2:15:06 am
cyclone Nisarga, Aditi Tatkare, Maharashtra tourism, Mumbai news, Indian express newsMinister of State for Tourism, Industries and Guardian Minister of Raigad, Aditi Tatkare.

Minister of State for Tourism, Industries and Guardian Minister of Raigad, NCP’s Aditi Tatkare, tells The Indian Express about the state’s strategy for revival of tourism in a post Covid-19 world and the way forward for her disaster-prone home district, which had suffered massive damages during cyclone Nisarga.

How will Raigad recover from the largescale ecological damage caused by Nisarga?

Nature has been very kind to Konkan. But the cyclone destroyed 6.5 lakh to 7 lakh trees. Orchards of coconuts, areca nuts and mangoes suffered massive damage. The government has revived old schemes specifically to generate income for those affected by the cyclone but the main task for the horticulture and the agriculture departments would be to encourage farmers to cultivate again.

They will have to drive away the negativity in the minds of farmers who think their cultivation will be of no use if a cyclone destroys their orchards again.

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Making the farmers more optimistic will be a major task. The people of Konkan rarely complain and are quite content with their lifestyle but this cyclone has made them think. Because of Covid-19, everything had come to a standstill since March and three months later, the cyclone struck. And then they wondered what’s next.

I am sure they will come out of it. Compensation has been disbursed to 90 to 95 per cent of the beneficiaries, only a few have been held because of technical problems.

After the collapse of the Tarique Garden building in Mahad that killed 16, the call for NDRF to be permanently stationed in Raigad has become louder. Why is this necessary?

One NDRF team has been stationed in Raigad since the Mahad incident. Besides, what is important is to strengthen the rescue teams we already have in Raigad.

There are at least four or five teams that rush to any place at any time, including rafting rescue teams and climbers. We have already started strengthening them by procuring the equipment they need like thermal cameras as well as rescue and advanced equipment by spending from the district budget.

We have had back-to-back crisis with floods in Pen and Roha, in 2016, Savitri river has overflowed. Everytime the NDRF spends five to six hours coming from Pune, the golden hour in which lives can be saved is lost. That is why Raigad needs a team to be stationed there.

What is the plan to revive tourism in Maharashtra?

I think for at least another year or two or until a vaccine is available, there is great scope for local tourism. People will be skeptical to move out, some countries may not allow foreign tourists. With the economic slowdown, too, people may not want to spend a lot of money on holidays. So, affordable holidays within the state is something they can look at to relax.

And if the government can provide opportunities to encourage hotels and resorts and give them financial relief, I think we will have good scope.

Parth Pawar, a party colleague of yours was reprimanded by NCP chief Sharad Pawar over his tweets related to the Sushant Singh Rajput death case. Do young people have a voice in old political parties?

All of us have our own views but it is ultimately the party that gives us the opportunities. That’s how our views are taken seriously.

If the party gives us no opportunity, how will we give our opinion on anything? I personally feel, being a part of an old party, we always know the ideologies and the principles our party stands for.

Each of us is expected to abide by these ideologies because at the end of the day, it is a part of our political personality.

In almost a year of the Maha Vikas Aghadi government. How much friction have you seen in the alliance and what have you learnt?

Fortunately, there hasn’t been friction as such. As first-timers, we are fortunate enough to get the guidance of all leaders – be it Chief Minister Uddhavji Thackeray saheb, Finance Minister Ajit Dada or Revenue Minister Thorat saheb.

It is very rare for young people like us to get guidance or suggestions from all these leaders who have worked for the state for so many years. And over and above, we have been working under the supervision of (Sharad) Pawar saheb, who has experience of more than 60 years in national politics.

We are getting guidance from leaders of all the three parties and working at a time when the state is going through one of its most difficult phases.

Faced with the dilemma of containing the pandemic and reopening industries, what are the solutions the government is considering?

Going forward, the industries department will play a crucial role. We will have to attract more investments and for the government, it is going to be challenging because international projects come at the central level, to bag them for Maharashtra is going to be even more challenging.

But I think we have been successful in getting Rs 16,000 crore in investments in MoUs signed two months ago. We have more things in the pipeline.

I think gradually tourism will also play a role in reviving the economy. About 22 per cent employment is generated through tourism so we want tourism to get a boost and the status of an industry.

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