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Separate statehood for Vidarbha not financially viable: Chavan

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Mumbai, Dec 29: Outlining the limitations of starting industries in Vidarbha due to various factors, former Maharashtra Chief Minister Prithviraj Chavan has said that separate statehood for the region is not economically viable.

Chavan also said that unless large manufacturing units start their operation in MIHAN (Multi-modal International Cargo Hub and Airport at Nagpur), Vidarbha and Nagpur cannot achieve desirable industrial growth.

Prithviraj Chavan

"The total income from taxes to the Sales Tax department is about Rs 85,000 crore annually. Out of this, around 70 per cent revenue of the total GDP of the state comes from five cities, including Mumbai, Thane, Pune, Raigadh and Nagpur. Though a separate statehood for Vidarbha was BJP's poll agenda, it is not financially viable," he told PTI here.

"If one goes through the figures of revenue collection through VAT from the 10 districts of Vidarbha, it can be seen that Wardha has mere Rs 12 crore VAT collection, while Yeotmal contributes not more than Rs 21 crore.

Similarly, for other districts, the collection is not enough to sustain a state," he said.

Chavan also said that revenue from mines and tiger sanctuaries is negligible and there are limitations of starting industries in the eco-sensitive districts of Vidarbha region due to environment norms.

Elaborating on reasons behind Pune being transformed into an industrial township and an auto hub, Chavan said, "Telco laid the foundation stone for industries there and later Bajaj and other industries chose Pune as it was nearest to the sea port in Mumbai. The government also provided land for industries at a cheaper rate during the 1970s and 80s."

"During our tenure, we convinced TCS and Infosys to start their IT units in Nagpur. But that is not sufficient. If at least one big manufacturing unit starts at MIHAN, allied industries will follow suit," he said.

Notably, Maharashtra Advocate General Shrihari Aney has been repeatedly pressing for a separate statehood for Vidarbha. However, Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis has clarified that those are Aney's personal views.

Recalling that he had invited Bharat Dynamics, a missile manufacturing giant to lay its foundation stone in Nandgaon Peth in additional Amravati industrial area, Chavan alleged that lack of political will has not led to the commencement of the project.

"Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis should show a political will to complete the tie-up with Bharat Dynamics," he said.

"Fadnavis approved a Law University and an IIM at Nagpur. But students choose to come to either Mumbai or Pune for work. How will they contribute in Nagpur's development?" he asked.

Meanwhile, state Finance minister Sudhir Mungantiwar said that the government is concentrating on Vidarbha and its development and that soon the region will contribute maximum tax to the state exchequer.

"Father of Indian Constitution Babasaheb Ambedkar too recommended a separate statehood for Vidarbha. Toeing his views, we have made a provision of over Rs 9,400 crore for road network, initiated super communication way and focused on bringing new industries in MIHAN," Mungantiwar said.


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