The committee headed by the well-known economist Vijay Kelkar, appointed to study the issue of balanced development of various regions of Maharashtra, has recommended autonomous status for Vidarbha, noting that the region’s population feels neglected.
It has also recommended shifting of the state secretariat (Mantralaya) to Nagpur, the state’s second capital, for the month of December every year. Finance and Planning Minister Sudhir Mungantiwar tabled the committee’s report in the Legislative Assembly.
The committee has said that Vidarbha should get autonomous status on the lines of Meghalaya. The north-eastern state was granted an autonomous status in 1969, when it was a part of Assam, by the 24th constitutional amendment. The autonomous status can be an alternative for separate statehood for the region (which a section of the local population has been demanding), the report says, adding that all the important finance-related portfolios should be allocated to the leaders from Vidarbha.
The people of Vidarbha feel that issues of the region are neglected and the Mumbai-headquartered government metes out a step-motherly treatment to them, it notes. The Mantralaya should be shifted to Nagpur from Mumbai from December 1 to 31 every year, and as a part of follow-up of ‘Nagpur pact’ (whereby Vidarbha leaders agreed to merger of the region within Maharashtra in 1960), some of the major directorates should be shifted to Aurangabad and Nagpur, the committee has said.
It also says that all the pending irrigation projects in Vidarbha should be completed on a priority basis.