The state government plans to unveil a comprehensive package to promote long-term agriculture-based industries to tackle the farm crisis and unemployment in drought-prone rural Marathwada. A special cabinet meeting where the plan was discussed also emphasised on making all 12,978 villages across eight districts of Marathwada water neutral by 2017-18.
Sources in the government said, “Food parks, textile hubs, tourism will be the core sectors on which nodal departments have been directed to finalise the proposals.” Although the final package is still undecided, sources revealed that the total projects along with private partnership would be worth Rs 1 lakh crore.
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Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis held discussions with his ministers including Sudhir Mungantiwar, Sambhaji Nilengekar Pawar, Babanrao Lonikar, and Jaikumar Rawal to outline the broad parameters.
It was decided that Marathwada comprising districts of Aurangabad, Latur, Beed, Osmanabad, Parbhani, Jalna, Hingoli and Nanded will get district-wise projects to accommodate concerns of the urban and rural unemployed youths. Apart from two textile parks and spinning mills, cereal processing units (tur dal), oil seeds (processing units) are high on the agenda.
The state government will unravel the investment plans for basic infrastructure to promote agro-industries. Apart from concessions of 75 paise per unit for power tariff, it is also mulling additional industrial incentives for private players willing to invest in the agriculture sector.
According to sources in the ministry of skill development, “Through skill development centres, it proposes to set up new ITIs to impart training to unemployed educated youths. Every district based on local industrial potential will identify the services which would be tied up with the private sector.” The water supply ministry proposed a Rs 15,000 crore Marathwada Water Grid to ensure sustained water supply across the state. It estimated that water requirement in the region by 2050 would be upto 43.52 TMC. Apart from 12,978 villages, it would cover 79 cities/towns. The ambitious project intends to facilitate water supply to every village through pipelines.
The project modelled on Gujarat and Telangana water grids, will source the water supply through Jayantwadi, Eldari, Siddheshwar, Mazalgaon, Manjara, Urdwadi, Painganaga, Lower Terna, Lower Manjaraa, Vishnupuri, Kolegaon, Khadagpurna anmd Ujjani dams.
Officials in the CMO said, “After completing the three day drought tour across eight districts, the chief minister had set up a task force under chief secretary Swadheen Kshatriya to work on projects for the region in April.”
The state plans to consolidate gains from the welfare schemes, including crop insurance, which saw the highest disbursement in Marathwada.
Sources said, “Fadnavis has emphasised that agriculture related industrial and service sectors should be given higher priority to facilitate greater participation and higher remuneration for farmers in drought hit districts.”
Agriculture department statistics revealed that almost Rs 2,450 crore were disbursed to farmers in Marathwada under the crop insurance schemes of the total Rs 4,205 crore.
The highest amount under crop insurance was given to Beed (Rs 893 crore), Latur (Rs 604.59 crore), Parbhani (Rs 488.65 crore) and Osmanabad (Rs 465.51 crore). The crop insurance helped 1.13 crore farmers and covered 74 lakh hectares of land.
The government will review and take measures to strengthen crop loan network. The present statistics indicate crop loan in Marathwada increased from Rs 9,193 crore to Rs 12,578 crore registering a quantum jump of 37 per cent.
Overall, across the state, the increase in fresh crop loan was 31 per cent from Rs 40,000 crore to Rs 54,000. The ambitious Shendre-Bidkin (Aurangabad) and Dighi Port project under the Delhi-Mumbai Industrial Corridor (DMIC) will also be expedited.