Rs. 49,000 crore development plan for Marathwada
The Maharashtra government sanctioned projects worth Rs. 49,248 crore for the Marathwada region. Other key announcements include upgrading the Aurangabad airport as well as a makeover for the Nanded airport to improve air connectivity in that region. Tourist regions of Mhaismal and Shulibhanjan are proposed to receive Rs 453 crore for development purposes. Irrigation and infrastructure will receive massive boost in the drought-region.
Marathwada region includes districts like Nanded, Aurangabad, Latur and Beed. 87% of Marathwada depends on rains for agriculture and it has traditionally been prone to droughts. Rains in 2010, 2011 and 2013 were much less than normal and 2012, 2014 and 2015 saw severe droughts.
Marathwada: Reeling under drought
Marathwada region has been reeling under droughts for three years; from October 2015 - June 2016, there were 1417 farmer suicides. After a long dry spell, excessive rains in the last few weeks have destroyed 50 per cent of the Kharif crops across districts. Over the last two months, the Maratha community has carried out several marches to demand reservation in jobs and education.
Ramping up irrigation in Marathwada
Erratic climatic changes have led to drought, hailstorm, floods and a slew of announcements have been made to tackle this. A water-grid will be set up in the region and Rs. 9,291 crore will be invested to improve irrigation facilities. Nearly half of this will be directed towards the Krishna-Marathwada Project whereas the rest will be distributed between ongoing irrigation projects in the region.
Transportation sector gets a major boost
Transport sector in the region will be significantly boosted and for this Rs. 35,526 crore has been sanctioned. Rs. 27,000 crore will be spent on building 2,200 kilometres of National Highways and Rs. 3000 crore to construct 2300 kilometres of state highways. Allocation of Rs. 500 crore towards renovation of Aurangabad and Nanded airports and nearly Rs. 5,000 crore for additional railway lines.
Education, housing included too
The state cabinet approved an investment of Rs 1,000 crore to make Aurangabad a smart city. The region will receive Rs. 1175 crore for electrification and Rs. 1885 crore for water conservation facilities. Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis announced that under PM Narendra Modi's 'housing for all' program, Rs. 180 crore would be dedicated towards building 1 lakh affordable houses for the poor.
State opposition not impressed
Radhakrishna Patil, opposition leader of the state assembly came down heavily on announcements made by CM Devendra Fadnavis. He raised serious doubts over the the government's ability to raise money for the schemes declared. Patil asked why similar promises made in the past weren't fulfilled. He added that after years of droughts, a loan waiver was necessary but the government failed to do so.