Friday, December 11, 2009

Vidarbha case is stronger than Telangana: Planning commission and CAG report justify the Vidarbha Statehood

Vidarbha case is stronger than Telangana: Planning commission and CAG report justify the Vidarbha Statehood

Nagpur-11th December-2009

The central Govt.’s green signal to the formation of “Telangana”, has forced UPA chief to look at the millions of dying farmers and tribal of vidarbha the region which was merged with Maharashtra under the linguistic rearrangement of the States in November 1956. It was hoped that people speaking the same language will be more cohesive units for rapid and balanced development. But the history of economic development of Maharashtra during the last 50 years has proved otherwise. Some areas, especially Vidarbha is systematically neglected while its resources are used for the benefit of the rest of the areas.

Now most of CONG-NCP M.P.s and M.L.A.s are supporting the demand of vidarbha statehood and BJP, The who betrayed vidarbha people when NDA reconstituted states now supporting the demand hence with such political support, UPA should give green signal to vidarbha as Maharashtra assembly too has passed resolution of that effect long back, urged Kishore Tiwari of Vidarbha Janandolan samiti in letter to UPA chief Smt.Sonia Gandhi.

The letter further throw light on the facts that The Prime Minister Dr Man Mohan Singh asked Planning Commission should study the facts related to unjust with vidarbha and

Planning Commission set up a Fact Finding Team on March 2nd 2006, to study the long term causes for rural distress and to suggest measures and alternatives to meeting the imbalance in investment in backward areas of Maharashtra with specific reference to Vidarbha. The fact Finding Report of the Planning Commission (May 2006) has found the deliberate neglect of Vidarbha by Western Maharashtra politicians irrespective of political parties to which they belong and also by the administration. The 244 pages Fact Finding Report has proved that Maharashtra government has been partisan in its governance of Vidarbha.The Planning Commission Report exposes the style of functioning of Maharashtra Government in very clear words. It will be useful and helpful to bring to the notice of all the people of Maharashtra the views of the Planning Commission that can set the ball rolling for justice.

The Planning Commission Fact Finding Team felt there was inadequate explanation for “this lackadaisical attitude in implementation of projects for Vidarbha and that there was ample reason to suspect collusion and connivance in not sanctioning the funds for the region and later to move for supplementary budgets, mostly for irrigation in Western Maharashtra.”

The history of implementation of the allocations since 2000, when the first allocations were indicated, shows that “the State has traditionally surrendered the provisions for Vidarbha, while, paradoxically, bulk of the State’s power requirements are drawn from this region. Even the need to provide energy for giving power to pump sets has not lead to a system of prioritization. While Nasik district alone has over 2 lakh pump sets, in Vidarbha the number can be equaled only by counting the total pump sets for 5 districts. The difference is not in the water table but in the treatment. Another major area pertains to irrigation, where the region has only 4% area under irrigation compared to rest of Maharashtra with almost 20% irrigated area.”

Information received from the Government of Maharashtra, Office of the Governor and the Statutory Development Board indicate that the implementation of the directives issued by the Governor of Maharashtra has not been satisfactory. The amount allocated by the Governor for the Irrigation sector and the expenditure reported by the State Government for the Annual Plans 2002-03, 2003-04 and 2004-05 shows that “while there was shortfall in expenditure to the tune of Rs.2528.21 crore for Vidarbha, Rs.1147.65 crore for Marathwada for the three Annual Plans taken together, the rest of Maharashtra region recorded an excess expenditure of Rs.1585.67 crore.”

As regards inclusion of allocations made by the Governor in the Annual Financial Statement, the State Government has included those outlays as a one page annexure in the Annual Financial Statements. However, “the allocations made by the Governor have not been shown separately under the relevant heads of expenditure. Actual expenditure against allocation is likely to stay questionable as evidenced from previous track record of lack of effective monitoring and implementation systems; and lack of monitoring of implementation in identified sectors.”

As regards backlog, with special reference to implementation of projects for irrigation in Vidarbha, “the Chief Minister and the Finance Minister felt that the needs of Vidarbha area can be met only by augmenting the flow of funds through Central grants….. Their desire is to expand the irrigation capacity in western Maharashtra. Currently they are busy with all last mile projects where 75% expenditure has already been made in western Maharashtra.” on being asked why similar focused and coordinated attention cannot be made for completing irrigation projects in Vidarbha area, their response is that most of the irrigation projects in Vidarbha area fall in degraded forests area (‘Juddupi’ jungle i.e. degraded forest) and that EIA has not been made available by Ministry of Environment and Forests. The subsequent carrying of the directives of the Governor on the backlog allocations shown in the Annual Financial Statement has been followed by a weak implementation. “It would not be incorrect to state that this lack of implementation in some of the major areas of development is possibly one of the major causes of the present acute distress faced in this region.”

VJAS letter has given the details of CAG Report (2006-07) that also explosive, here are facts:

Besides the Planning Commission’s above detailed report, CAG Report 2006-07 brings out that Western Maharashtra (WM) benefited as the Vidarbha’s backlog piled up. The diversion of funds to the influential WM and northern parts of state, ducking Governor’s directives has led to irreversible regional balance. Vidarbha has been robbed of 70% of its funds”. Provision for irrigation made by the Governor was Rs.3119.79 crore but government allotted only Rs.1391.58 crore that resulted in a backlog of Rs.2528 crore.

Government subsidies have also been monopolized by the State’s powerful sugar lobby. Subsidies running into crores of rupees amounting to Rs.800 crores have been given to sugar factories and extended benefit of zero interest. Purchase tax of $ 63 million was waived for sugar factories and $ 212 million provided for buffer stock transport subsidies.

“3.2 million Vidarbha farmers consume 11. % of total electricity while sugarcane belt of Maharashtra accounts for 65.5%. Six sugar growing districts of Pune Division had 3.57 lakh pump sets in excess of the quota of 2004, while Vidarbha had deficit of 2.15 lakh pumps. 60% of State’s electricity is generated in Vidarbha. It has power but is politically powerless. Pune Division is entitled to consume 512 million units (MU) of power. Agriculture pumps in the Division consumed 1079 MU with a subsidy to the pump set of Rs250 per unit. Pune got excess subsidy of Rs.144 crores in 2007 and WM got Rs.560 crores. Against this, Vidarbha out of its share of 2668 MU consumed only 985 MU due to backlog of 2.15 million pumps resulting in a loss of subsidy of Rs.420 croes

VJAS has drawn the attention of UPA chief toward the apathy of Maharashtra Govt. to follow-up the Maharashtra Governor’s Directive, here are the details besides these two Reports, the Maharashtra Governor’s 38 pages Directive of 27th May 2009 under Article 371(2) of the Constitution regarding the irrigation sector laid on the table of Maharashtra Assembly in the Budget session is proof enough to confirm what Planning Commission and CAG Reports brought out in the their Reports. The Governor’s Directive has specifically instructed the Maha-govt. not to divert or deviate from the allocation made for irrigation. If such a diversion is noticed, the responsibility be fixed and reported to Governor. The Directive also makes the Planning Department responsible to Monitor this and send Quarterly Report to him. In addition, on the pattern of Krishna Khore, other basins benefiting Vidarbha and other areas should be developed. To check the government of Maharashtra to use all public debt for completing the irrigation projects of Western Maharashtra, Governor has strictly laid down that if such resources are raised they should be equally spent in all the areas. To keep watch on delay of irrigation projects in Vidarbha and other parts, the governor has asked the Maha-Govt. to submit Report to him about cost and time overrun of the projects in six months time. Goshi Khurd irrigation project of Vidarbha for which the foundation stone was laid by Late Shri Rajiv Gandhi, Prime Minister of India, in 1984 has yet not been completed.

“These two Reports and Governor’s Directive have unequivocally brought out that there is no political will on the part of influential leaders of Western Maharashtra to do economic justice to Vidarbha which they have systematically avoided during the last thirty years. The Marathi people came together in Maharashtra but the economic journey during the last 50 years shows that the leaders of Western Maharashtra and their government irrespective of the political parties shows that the time has come that Vidarbha will develop as a separate State rather than be part of Maharashtra”Tiwari said.

“We have very strong case than Telangana hence vidarbha state is must” Tiwari added.