MUMBAI: Expressing concerns on the negative growth of the agricultural sector, Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis on Monday said the proposed communication super expressway project between Mumbai and Nagpur would prove to be a “game changer” for the state.
Mr Fadnavis, while speaking at ‘Suyog’, the camp residence of outstation reporters in Nagpur, also said that the mega project will play an important role in the development of the state, just as the bullet train played in enhancing the economic growth of China.
“Due to the ongoing drought conditions, agriculture sector growth may remain negative for the next 3 years. We have thus decided to focus on the infrastructure sector,” he said.
“The negative growth of the agriculture sector is likely to impact the service and manufacturing sectors as well and we thus need to find a new way to give an impetus to development which we believe will happen through farm ponds,” the Chief Minister added.
He further said that as about 50-60 per cent population of the state depends upon the agriculture sector, an increase in crop production moves the market economy by increasing purchase power of people and thereby having a positive impact on the manufacturing sector.
“Madhya Pradesh has succeeded in increasing agriculture growth with the help of 3 lakh farm ponds. Our target is to create 5 lakh farm ponds,” he said.
Citing an example of China, Mr Fadnavis said that the neighbouring country has managed a seven fold economic growth with the commencement of bullet trains.
“Similarly, the proposed Nagpur-Mumbai Super communication way will play an important role in the economic growth and development of backward regions of the state. The proposed way will pass through 14 districts from Vidarbha and Marathwada regions,” he said.
He further said that industrial growth remains centralised around Mumbai, Pune and to some extent in Nashik and Aurangabad as these cities remain connected through sea ports.
“Nagpur has a dry port but since it is far from a sea port, the region lags in development. We have set a target to complete the super communication way by the end of 2019. Once it is done, cities nearby will emerge as the new centres of industrial development as distance between them with sea ports will be reduced,” he said.
Mr Fadnavis said the smart city project and farmers’ problems are intertwined and that the need of the days calls for shifting focus to development of rural Maharashtra.