Lawmakers from North Maharashtra call on President

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New Delhi, Jun 6 (UNI) An all-party delegation, comprising about 60 lawmakers from North Maharashtra, today submitted a representation to President Pratibha Devisingh Patil, demanding a Development Board for their region, mainly tribal.

The President gave a sympathetic hearing and assured them that she would look into their demand and forward it to the authorities concerned, a Rashtrapati Bhavan spokesperson said.

Among those who were part of the delegation were Mr Manikrao Gavit, Mr Vasant Rao More, Mr Haribhao Javale, Mr Hari Chandra Chavan and Mr Vijay Kumar Gavit (all MPs), besides the MLAs and MLCs from the region.

They argued that three Development Boards for Vidarbha, Marathwada and Rest of Maharashtra were set up 13 years ago. The districts of North Maharashtra, particularly Nandurbar and Dhule, had the lowest Human Development Index as was shown in the Planning Commission report. But there was no separate Development Board for North Maharashtra which had to depend on the Board meant for Rest of Maharashtra.

The average HDI of the five districts in North Maharashtra was only 0.44, less than half of the expected HDI of 1. HDI was decided by mainly three factors: health, education and per capita income.

HDI of Nandurbar was a mere 0.28 and of Dhule was 0.36 which showed that no judicious development was taking place in these districts, they said.

Further, the empowerment of women, minorities and the small farmers and the landless labourers had not taken place. Documents showed that there was still a backlog in irrigation and also in the vital areas of various other sectors.

The percentage of BPL families in these five districts with reference to Maharashtra was very high at 23.

In order to begin the process of judicious development, it was obligatory on the part of both the State and the Central Governments to immediately set up a Statutory Development Board under article 371 (2) (a) of the Indian Constitution, they said.

The constitution of such a separate development board had to be treated as an investment for enabling the most backward districts to reap the fruits of development in future.

UNI SN RP BD1606

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