led Maharashtra government on Friday announced a special package of ₹21,222 crore for the underdeveloped Vidarbha and Marathwada regions of the state.
The state’s Finance Minister Sudhir Mungantiwar told the Legislative Assembly that the government would also set up a special facility in Nagpur to monitor the implementation of the package. The focus would be on the development of industries, irrigation facilities, agriculture and tourism in these two regions, he said.
As part of the package, a milk collection network and processing facilities would be created, Mungantiwar said, adding that a new government milk brand “Gondavana” would be created on the lines of the Mahananda brand. A plant will be set up in Gadchiroli district to manufacture products under the brand name.
A “skill university” would be set up at Aurangabad, while hostels would be constructed in all 19 districts of Vidarbha and Marathwada, the finance minister said.
A medical college would be set up on a private-public-partnership basis at Washim, and the government would bear the costs of setting up a dental college on the same premises, he said.
Self-help groups would be created for women from minority communities, Mungantiwar said. “We will be able to raise funds for implementing the package…The government will focus on areas which are lagging behind in development,” he told the House. He also accused the previous Congress-NCP regime of ignoring the two regions.
Chief minister Devendra Fadnavis said this package was “a reply to those who were questioning the purpose of holding the Monsoon Session of the legislature in Nagpur”. Vidarbha and Marathwada are considered less developed compared to more prosperous Western Maharashtra. A section of Vidarbha leaders have been seeking separate statehood for long.