Vidarbha Must be Separated

I commented on an on going debate on Prateek’s blog. I thought it should serve a good purpose of further elevating the cause of the separate Vidarbha statehood movement.

Smaller territories are better managed. So I’d accept the argument of dividing the states into further smaller groups. But there has to be a logic. There are some politicos wanting to make a separate state just like that. Such power hungry opportunistic people should definitely be stopped.

Taking the cause of Vidarbha ahead, Nagpur, if you see, was never a part of Maharashtra. It belonged to a territory called Central Province during the time of British Raj. When Indian republican states were formed, Vidarbha initially belonged to Madhya Pradesh. However after the ‘Samyukta Maharashtra’ movement, it got embedded with Maharashtra.

Vidarbha also has a link to mythology. Rukmani, Lord Krishna’s first wife was said to be the princess of Vidarbha. In recent past (300 years), Nagpur region of Vidarbha came under the Bhonsales, who were an off shoot of Peshvas and Raja Shivaji. Hindi was the official language of the dynasty then.

We have a rich history and excellent geography being misused.

Vidarbha holds two-thirds of Maharashtra’s mineral resources, three quarters of its forest resources and is a net producer of power. Throughout its history Vidarbha has remained much calmer during the communal troubles than the rest of India. But it is plagued very much by poverty and malnutrition. It is less economically prosperous compared to the rest of Maharashtra, primarily because of the politicians from Mumbai and around. Though rich in minerals, coal, forests and mountains, we were always underdeveloped because of the continuous dominance of the political leaderships from the other parts of the state.

Tell you more, Nagpur has been voted as the second greenest and cleanest city in India, behind only to Bangalore. It has consistently featured in the 10 best cities to live in India.

The literacy rate in the major cities in Vidarbha (8 of them) is higher than the whole of Maharashtra put together. And we are still underdeveloped.

Need I say more?

32 thoughts on “Vidarbha Must be Separated

  1. I agree.

    I fail to understand how the administration let something like the sanyukta maharashtra movement flourish.

    And we are now seeing the results of the language-based states that the Congress were forced to make after independence. It has become as big a nuisance as religion-based separatism.

  2. I’m not sure if separation is the answer to Vidarbha’s problems. I personally believe that once separated, the already anti-development ministers in Nagpur will have a free field to eat and practice world’s best corruption.

    One way to bring development is to stop brain drain from Vidarbha to west Maharashtra. Vidarbha needs more local entrepreneurs who can create opportunities and create jobs for the Vidarbhian talent.

    But even before that, we need strong willingness to develop Vidarbha.

  3. I understand your sentiments and echo your views on entrepreneurship. But the brain drain is not the only problem we have. It is the resources that are being redirected to places like Mumbai and Pune (including but not limited to people). There are 200 constraints for opening a shop (read factory) in and around Nagpur. Power, water and challenging climatic conditions being the major ones. While you cant do any thing about the weather, other things can and will certainly change after we get the ‘so called’ independence.

    Haryana, Uttarakhand and Chattisgarh are good examples of how the separation has worked in their favor.

    • To say that vidarbha was never part of Maharashtra is unhistorical. Eastern Maharashtra was always part of the major Deccan kingdoms; Satavahana, Vakatakas, Chalukya, Rashtrakuta, Yadava and the Marathas ruled over vast swathes of western Maharashtra, Marathwada, Varhataka (Varhaad), Gondvana, Konkan etc. Rather what is today M.P. was a part of Maharashtra. The British following divide and rule divided the Maharashtrians, as they did Bengalis later with east and west Bengal. It was the Marathas who fought the British (three extensively fought Anglo Maratha wars), not Mughals or Rajputs and it was the third Anglo Maratha war that gave the British their empire of India. Afa this Nagpuri chakallas for separate vidarbh is concerned, it is not going to happen. We Amravati people aren’t interested. Vidarbh never Maharashtra forever.

  4. More states -> more politicians, more useless bureaucrats, more expense, less income, more trouble, divisive. What could be a good logic for anything like this?

    The reason for lack of development is lack of political will, making more states won’t generate this will but dampen it further. A govt can be blamed (though not in indian democracy) if some parts of a state are not developed, but what happens when this comparison is not there? Are Jharkhand & Chattisgarh showing any signs of development?

    Sorry I am reading blogs after a long time and can’t hold back a comment or 2.

  5. More states mean more cities (you need to develop at least 1 more capital, right?), more infrastructure expenditure, which means more support economy, more employment, less people migrating to the “bigger capital” because they now have a capital nearby to migrate to. Big MNCs would identify the new state as a centre and open branches in the capital and some other towns, boosting employment and forcing some other employees to reside in those towns, leading to more support economy flourishing in those towns.

    Politicians and bureaucrats will be corrupt, no matter what you do. It’s in their DNA to be corrupt. Waiting for these people to “develop” your state is stupidity.

    High time we ask them to do the bare necessities that governments are supposed to do – infrastructure and security – and take charge of the rest of the economy.

    Smaller states also mean less power in the hands of regional politicians. Which is good for the unity of the country. We need to get over this fad of state level identity and unity and start thinking in terms of the country.

    States are not as strong divisions as countries. It hardly matters to you and me (in terms of unity and identity) if you city is part of Jharkhand or Orissa. You won’t need a passport to go from Telangana to Rayalseema if they separate (your vehicle will need a NOC though, stupid as it may sound) but if Maharashtra separates from India (who knows?) you will need a passport to go from Ahmedabad to Bombay (though your vehicle still needs a NOC, go figure :P). Sounds like divide and rule, but it’s more like divide and prosper.

  6. The politicians in India behave like Murphy’s law. “If any thing has to go wrong, it will.” Similarly “If a politician can be corrupt, he will be.” No matter which state he belongs to. The whole point is to work against the deliberate exploitation and negligence of the region. Over the years, Vidarbha has always grown on its own without much fuss. I have met many people, especially from Pune who thought Nagpur is only a large town with a population of about 10 lacks. Whereas it is consistently ranked higher than Pune in all aspects, except the population and industrial concentration. Such is the negligence.

    Moreover what is so wrong separating sub regions and letting them develop with their own administration? We have such a huge population from Vidarbha migrating to Mumbai/Pune for better prospects. I’m one of them. If they all start getting a share of the economic development in their own region, who’d want to migrate? I’m sure same is true with other states as well.

    Having said all above points, I’ll have to arrest my further comments here. Because I know there is a big difference between saying a thing and doing it.

  7. Mayur … first of all congratulations on a very well written blog.

    I completely agree with the reasoning that you mentioned in you blog… as to why a seperate Vidarbha should be formed.

    I have seen so many projects (Automobile sector, textile sector etc.) been moved for no valid reason from Vidarbha region to Western Maharashtra.

    United Maharashtra guys were cunning enough to annexe Vidarbha, as they know how mineral rich (and hence power rich) it was. I think it would been better for Vidarbha to have been a part of Madhya Pradesh.

    People talk about “Vidarbha region can be developed even when it is part of Maharashtra” … hello! Vidarbha has been part of Maharashtra for so long…what happened?

    I have so much longing to be able to work in my state (Vidarbha) and not be a migrant is some other state like Maharashtra/Andhra/Karnataka etc.

    Talking about the same politicians ruling Vidarbha …so be it… if now Vidarbha earns 4 chapatis… 1 is eaten by politicians… 2 are eaten by western Maharashtra… and the poor Vidarbha is left with just 1. After Vidarbha is granted… even if politicians eat 2 chapatis… poor of Vidarbha will still have 2 chapatis to eat

    Vidarbha Rajya Jhalach Pahije ! Jai Vidarbha!

  8. hey Dude!

    am very much agreed to you but i want to know what are the consequences?if the vidarbha is separated.

    You have a great study on vidharbha…keep it up!
    You r the need for VIDARBHA:::::

  9. I am Anti-Separate-Vidarbha.

    I agree that smaller states are better from administration point of view but that decision has to be made on administration level and not by politicians.

    Its been claimed that Vidarbha has more power and more minerals, however, we have more power projects because Govt decided so. It is not as if people of Vidarbha have pumped in their own money to construct these power plants.

    Minerals? Minerals are the property of India and not of Vidarbha.
    There are thousands different minerals produced all over India and we use them as if we own it all. Do we have steel mines? No! Do we use steel as much as otehr people in India use? Absolutely.

    What bothers me is that our politicians who do not get a fair treatment in Mumbai are telling us that they will get fair treatment in NewDelhi. Whats the guarantee? If the central Govt doesn’t give us fair amount of money, are we going to ask for a separate country?

    It is often claimed that people from Vidarbha have to run to Mumbai to get their issues addressed. This bothers me. It is total mismanagement and stupidity of Govt heads that makes people to go thousands of kilometers just to get some permission or license.

    Vidarbha may have been a separate state or a part of MP (Central province) in British era. So what? It must have been a separate country at some other time in the history, do we ask for a separate country?

    -Nitin Gulhane
    Born in Amravati, raised in Bhandara.

  10. Nitin, I must say you are a very patriotic human being. It is a welcome relief when some one is talking about a national thing rather than selfishly proclaiming some thing. But I have some questions, will you answer them for me?

    1) I understand a simple logic. If I earn money, I will decorate my house. If I earn surplus money in ample amounts, I will think of decorating my neighbourhood too. But what if the huge surplus money I’m earning is coming from my neighbourhood? Will I still keep decorating only my house and neglect the neighbourhood?

    2) Agreed that minerals and power are natural wealth. But the centre didn’t put up power plants in the places where they are right now because they wanted to uplift the areas. They did it because of the presence of the resources. Using the resources, they are now developing the places of their choice. The power is produced in a region and supplied to the other region. So tell me one thing, why should the producer be deprived of the necessities at the expense of funding the so called ‘developed’ regions?

    The sugar belt of the western Maharashtra is well developed because the people there favoured their own men. Let us not be oblivious to the favouritism practised by them. If they had sugar, we had cotton… an equal necessity. But it was not brought up. I’m sure you know the plight of the farmers in Vidarbha.

    I know it will be stupid to rely on politicians again, even if we get a separate Vidarbha. But what choice have they left us with?

    PS: If we have the ability, required planning, resources and willingness to sustain as an independent country, why not?

    • Mayur Bhau….Firstly, I am not at all convinced with your support to the idea of a separate Vidharbha. We all are a Part Of Marathi Society and all share a common cultural identity and origin. Yet, people like You support the fact of division of Maharashtra in the name of development. This will not at all lead to development, but instead, lead to the destruction of Marathi culture and create a pathway for the Gujratis and Marwadis to come and settle on our Marathi homeland and cut off our scope for enterprenuership. Furthermore, we will lose our sense of Marathi Brotherhood and in the name of United India, only The Marathi culture will suffer.
      I hail from Marathwada…A region which has somewhat thr same problems as yours. Yet, do we demabd for a seprate state? The answer is easy because we respwct our culture and heritage and aim at upholding it. Unlike you people, we dont create issues of what we dont have; indtead, we try to make something from what we have. The State Government holds its office in late Winters every year in Nagpur. This doesnt happen here. Do we cry?? Learn to respect your culture and study hiatory well and then support the arguments

  11. Thanks for the reply Mayur.
    While I agree that Vidarbha has lagged behind western Maharashtra, I suspect that its not all that bad if you rate it on the national level.

    Now, even if we separate, what makes you beleive that Vidarbha will progress (not challenging you…merely asking)?

    Would we have more jobs?
    Would we get more aid from the center?
    Would we get more electric power for our own use?
    Would we benefit from natural resources that we have?
    Would our education system improve?
    Would we have more transperent Govt machinary?

    Here are my answers:

    1. Yes. Numebr of jobs will increase. There will be a few more Govt jobs to facilitate govt work. It would be duplication of work that currently being done in Mumbai. (BTW, you can meet large number of Vidarbha folks in Mantralaya and myriad govt buildings in Mumbai and these jobs will be lost in future)

    Newly empowered Politicians will beseech Tatas and Ambanis to start a business in Vidarbha by offering them lands at throwaway prices and offering them tax sops. However, they are being wooed by many other states and so we do not know if that would be successful.
    Local businesses (owned indirectly by new ministers) will be given special treatment (like cheaper land and tax sops) and thus can become larger employer.

    2. No. Center has mysterious ways of allocating funds. It depends on way to many factors and smaller states do not have negotiating power as it has smaller number of MPs. Also the tax base of Vidarbha will be much smaller to be given larger funds.

    3. No. Electric power of our power plants will still be connected to National Power Grid. Power plant does not automatically become property of the state.
    Yes, we may be able to use larger portion of the electric power that we generate but having surplus power rightnow will ensure that we do not get any more power plants in near future while rest of Maharashtra and India will establish larger and better power plants.
    I am not happy with our thermal power plants right now…but if Vidarbha separates, they will turn out to be our only hope.
    I will write more about this electric power thing later.

    4. No. Natural resources like minerals are again a national property. I suspect that even if we find gold under our land, we will not be allowed to mine it and sell it. Our constitution has established a strong center and states are just puppets. States like Bihar are very rich in natural resources but look where they are.

    5. No. Education system will take a beating. Again this is a controversial topic but a shortsighted view would be that our guys will be denied admissions in other colleges in Maharashtra…and probably lose an opportunity to study in Mumbai and Pune.

    6. No. Govt will remain the same. beurocrats will remain the same and politicians will remain the same.

    In summary, things we stand to gain are:
    1. Larger portion of electric power generated in Koradi, Khaparkheda and a plant in Chandrapur (Koradi and khaparkheda had big issues in the past)
    2. Larger local job market (at the cost of losing Mumbai and Pune market.

    What we stand to lose:
    1. Access to jobmarket of Pune and Mumbai
    2. New generation electricity plants
    3. Education opportunities in large cities
    4. Loss of negotiation power due to reduced size

    I think we should study one of the smaller states (Assam, Manipur, Meghalaya, Goa) and find out their progress and their natural resources. IMO, smaller states fade fast. What do you think?

    (separate country is unviable right now…but who knows, 20 years from now, I will be fighting for one!)

  12. Yes, sugar belt has prospered. But is that our grievance?
    Our grievance should be that our farmers are left high and dry. Shouldn’t we be fighting against ‘Cotton federation’? Shouldn’t we be fighting against commodity traders?

  13. Vidarbh: History
    1) 1853 :- After British conquests from Mughals and Marathas in central India, in 1853 “Nagpur Province” was formed with Nagpur as capital. It was administered by a commissioner under the central government.
    2) 1861 :- “Central Province “ was formed by britishers with Nagpur as capital.
    3) 1903 :- On 1 st October Berar was also placed under the administration of the commissioner of Central Provinces. It was now named as “CP and Berar”
    4) 1935 :- Government of India Act , passed by British parliament formed provincial assembly, providing for an election. “CP and Berar” was kept a separate entity with Nagpur as capital.
    5) 1950 :- When constitution of India went into effect in 1950 CP and Berar became “Madhya Pradesh”, with Nagpur as capital.
    6) 1956 :- “Vidarbha State” with Nagpur as capital was recommended by Fazal Ali states reorganization commission (SRC).
    7) 1960 :- On 1 st May the Vidarbha state, favoured by Fazal Ali SRC, was merged with, a newly formed Maharashtra State.
    Ever since this area is a like colony of Maharashtra (1000 km away from state capital) and Nagpur has dubious distinction of being only city of India to have lost state capital status.

  14. Money flows freely in western Maharashtra; penury in Vidarbha. Leaders of former region dominate the politics and policies of the state, which protect their interests at the cost of interests of other regions. Economic disparities are by design and not just a coincidence. The Vidarbha crisis has crucial linkages with all those disparities.

    Politically, Vidarbha was part of the erstwhile Central Provinces and Berar. It was ceded to Maharashtra in 1953, though the States Reorganisation Commission had strongly recommended the formation of a separate Vidarbha state. The erstwhile leadership of the Congress opposed it, because it would have been a terrible loss to the entire state. Western Maharashtra could not have afforded to lose this resource and mineral-rich region, which would breed their interests for years.

    Economic disparities showed up in first few years, but they took alarming proportions in late seventies. After public and political protests, The Government of Maharashtra first appointed a fact-finding committee of experts under the chairmanship of Dr V M Dandekar on 3 August 1983, to decide on the indicators for assessing and quantifying regional imbalance in development of the state.

    The committee did a study of backlog in nine developmental sectors, which were: roads; irrigation; village electrification; general education; technical education; health services; water supply; land development, soil and water conservation; and veterinary services. In its report submitted to the government in 1984, the committee said the total sectoral backlog of the state, as on 30 June 1982, was Rs.3186.77 crore. Vidarbha was the worst affected. Its share in that stood at Rs 1246.54 crore. The statewide irrigation backlog was Rs.1385.93 crore, and Vidarbha’s share in the backlog of that sector was Rs 527.31 crore, or 38.05%.

    The then government did not accept the Dandekar committee report, but made some small allocations ranging from Rs.200 crore in 1985 to Rs.500 crore in 1993-94 for the removal of backlog to silence the protests. The committee had said that 85% of annual budgetary allocations be earmarked for backlog removal.

    On 9 March 1994, the President of India passed an order bestowing on the Governor of Maharashtra a special responsibility “for the establishment of separate development boards for Vidarbha, Marathwada and the Rest of Maharashtra” to ensure equitable allocation of funds for development of regions. The statutory order provides for the allocation of funds made by the Governor or recommended by him to be reflected in the state annual financial statements.

    Consequent upon the fresh protests for the removal of the backlog, the Governor appointed another committee in 1995, the Indicators and Backlog Committee. This committee submitted its report to the Governor on 11 July 1997. The state government accepted its report “in principle,” but it said the views of respective departments should be referred to the Backlog committee for consideration and calculation of physical and financial backlog with regard to irrigation, higher and technical education, energisation of pumps, and land, soil and water conservation sectors. The Governor then asked the committee to consider the views of each and every department in respect of the relevant sectors to assess the final backlog. The reconstituted Committee submitted its fresh report to the Governor on 27 September 2000, which was accepted by the Maharashtra Government.

    The reconstituted committee arrived at a total sectoral backlog of Rs.14,006.77 crore, of which Rs.6624.02 crore (47.6%) was of Vidarbha’s share alone, Rs.4004.55 crore (28.77%) of Marathwada and Rs 3378.2 crore (23.63%) of rest of Maharashtra. In irrigation, the backlog of the state was pegged at Rs.7418 crore, which came to about 52.96 per cent of the total developmental backlog. And the backlog in this sector for Vidarbha was calculated at Rs.4083 crore, or 55.04% of the total irrigation backlog of the state. Marathwada’s irrigation backlog was Rs 2401 crore (32.37%) and that of the rest of Maharashtra Rs.934 crore, or 12.59%. In other words, the irrigation backlog of rest of Maharashtra drastically dropped from 39.1% as on March 31, 1984 to 12.59% in 1994. This has since declined dramatically to a mere 4.7% by 2002, as per the updated figures.

    Significantly, in the same period, Vidarbha’s irrigation backlog rose exponentially from 38.02% in 1982 to 55.04% in 1994 to 62.2% of the total state’s backlog in that sector in 2002. In rupee-terms, it means an exponential rise from Rs.537.31 crore to some Rs.8000 crore by 2002 at 1993-94 prices. This would come to around Rs 14,434.64 crore as per 2003-04 prices, and more by the current.

    Backlog in Irrigation

    The total irrigation potential created by June 2004 in the state was 51.5 lakh hectare, which is about 22.85% of culturable area and 48% of the ultimate irrigation potential of the state, according to a planning commission report.

    Compared to this, the irrigation potential developed in Vidarbha by July 2004 is 11.67 lakh hectares, which is about 20.46% of the culturable area and 31.6% of its ultimate irrigation potential. About 1.8 lakh hectare of land is under irrigation in Vidarbha due to ex-malguzari tanks constructed way back in the 16th and 17th century. Many tanks built in the pre-independence era have created an irrigation potential of 0.48 lakh ha. This implies that only 9.43 lakh ha land has been brought under irrigation since independence by the government. Which is only about 0.16 lakh ha per year.

    Other regions of the state, which were way behind Vidarbha in irrigation development before independence, have now marched way ahead of it in the post independence period. The Pune region for instance has a share of 37.23% of the state’s irrigation development, followed by Marathwada at 22.24% and Nashik at 17%. The two regions of Vidarbha are way behind these figures – 12.25% for Nagpur and 9.34% for Amravati. The created irrigation potential is in contrast with the water availability in the region. Since Marathwada region has only 8.5% of the available water compared to the state; Pune and Nashik region put together may hardly equal the Vidarbha’s share if the west flowing rivers in Konkan are excluded. Considering this aspect, the backwardness of Vidarbha in irrigation sector gets highlighted starkly.

    The total culturable area, gross sown area and net sown area in the 11 districts of Vidarbha are 6.0627 million ha, 6.3151 million ha and 5.1752 million ha respectively. The region falls in Godavari and Tapi basins. The irrigation potential developed so far till June 2005 is 0.874 m ha from state sector schemes and 0.304 m ha from local sector schemes (total 1.178 m ha). Potential created as a percent of gross sown area is only 19% for the region as a whole.

    So far 10 major, 49 medium and 650 minor schemes have been completed creating a potential of 0.6487 m ha. The 15 major, 30 medium and 164 minor schemes are ongoing with an ultimate potential of 1.259 m ha, which will need a massive funding of Rs 10,600 crore by the current prices.

    Agriculture pumps

    A member of Statutory Development Board for Vidarbha, Advocate Madhukar Kimmatkar, says out of total energy consumed in the state for agriculture pumps during 2003-04 (which is 10,155.2 million units), Vidarbha consumed only 1166.3 million units, amounting to 11.49%. In Western Maharashtra, consumption was 6659.64 million units, about 65.58% of the total consumption, while in Marathwada, it was 2258.91 MU, or 22.24%. The physical backlog of energisation of agricultural pumps in Vidarbha stands at 215,000, in Marathwada at 1,09,073, where as western Maharashtra has an excess of 3,57,320 pumps that has been energized. As on March 3001, Amravati revenue division with five districts had 2,85,160 agricultural pumps, and Nagpur division with six districts had 1,78,187 pumps. Compare it with just two districts – Nashik and Ahmednagar – of the western Maharashtra. Former has 2,00,270 pumps energized, while Ahmednagar has 2,33,068 such pumps.

    The reason for this enormous difference is not the water table level but huge pendency in clearing applications by farmers for electricity connective for their agricultural activities. This issue becomes even more significant in the view of the fact that the state government gives an annual subsidy of Rs 9,250 per pump. The subsidy is useless here because the farmers haven’t got electricity connections in the first place, and is therefore a loss of irrigation potential.

    Imbalance by design

    The regional economic disparities are glaring in all the sectors – roads, allied agriculture activities, education, marketing of produce, banking network, credit availability and anything you name. It was by a political design, not decay. The political heavyweights dangled carrots to Vidarbha and successfully hijacked its funds to western Maharashtra almost every time for the last five decades now.

    Why did the regional imbalance rise? Because, the state’s leadership harnessed a constituency in western Maharashtra, and dominated the politics and policies of the state, which continued to fuel their interests. Successive governments harped on the backwardness of the regions like Vidarbha, even as they spent more and more money on western Maharashtra. They pauperised the people here and pampered the constituencies there, through public finances and through private money.

    An estimated Rs.200,000 crore worth of public and private money is due to be spent on the transformation of western Maharashtra’s agriculture into horticulture and allied hi-tech activities, according to many independent sources. This money will be ploughed into from the banks, non-banking financial institutions and the private funding. This is now possible because that region first got its infrastructure built through the government money, even as other regions did not get their share.
    More money in western Maharashtra now brings more capital. With the government budgets dwindling for all the activities, western Maharashtra is ready for embracing private money, though the small and marginal farmers even there would lose ground and perish slowly. The shift will be from production to value addition and marketing. This will give the corporate rich a cutting edge. They will eat only butter, while the growers — who have no choice but to sell their produce since they cannot store it for very long without having means and capacities to do value addition and deferred marketing — will grapple for two square meals.

    Sugar monopolies control the entire state, but the much-trumpeted cooperative structure, on which they grew, has collapsed. Stiff competition in the markets from private competitors and rampant corruption has left the cooperative structure with cracks, and some sugar factories are closing down. It’s no more alluring or paying. The game of controlling the constituencies, has shifted to the water sector from the sugar cooperatives, which once controlled the sugar-cane farmers of that region. That is why the czars of the western Maharashtra, who sit both in the state as well as the central governments, have deftly pushed in policies that are brazenly anti-farmer. Like the one that brings in back-door water privatisation – Pani Panchayats, run and controlled by the politically powerful, will eventually rule the constituencies.

    While the creamy layer in western Maharashtra sets that region on the express highway of development, small and marginal farmers there and the entire agrarian peasantry in Vidarbha are set to hit the new troughs of despair. The lack of off and on-farm activities in this region was not due to the so-called laxity of the farmers. It was due to the stifling of the region of funds (i.e. investment) through a stark neglect.

    And this happened even in the regime of Sharad Pawar when he was the chief minister of the state. Now, he is the agriculture minister of the country. Pawar, who has seen for years how funds got diverted from Vidarbha to his constituency, had ironically said some months ago while addressing a press conference in Nagpur that the country was passing through an agrarian crisis, which was a result of declining private and public sector investments. “What do you expect if the budget for agriculture is only 3% when over 60% of your population depend on it their livelihoods,” Pawar had said then.

    Planning Commission member, Dr Bhalchandra Mungekar, once aired his concern on the growing regional disparities in Maharashtra. He said unless the state government corrects its policies and make enough budgetary allocations it will always be riddled by regional conflicts. “There will be islands of prosperity and ocean of poverty and despair, and it can’t be called as development,” he said while suggesting the region-wise and district-wise allocation of funds in the annual financial statement itself. Maharashtra has a total debt burden of Rs.1.35 lakh crore, according to India’s Planning Commission. Mungekar had noted a press conference last year that Maharashtra accounts for 50% of the total debt on all the states of India put together. “It’s a big headache,” he had said. He wondered how much of this money had the state government spent in Vidarbha and Marathwada. The government has no answers.

    Meanwhile, governments changed, and every government assured the people that they would bring out a white paper on the backlog of the region and increase the spending on sectors. Yet the fact remains that the regional disparities over five decades have divided the state on regional lines, both politically and economically. It hardly matters whether Vidarbha gains the status of statehood. It’s already a separate state of desolation.

  15. Shailendra, I agree with your stats and I also agree that Vidarbha region is in trouble. What I don’t agree with is that separation will be a magic wand.
    To me we need silent revolution for progress and not a violent revolution for separation which will cost a few hundred lives and crores rupees worth property.

    People to squarely blame are our politicians that we have elected in last 50 years. It shocks me that very same politicians are now asking us to revolt. I am not going to support these incompetent fools who probably lose their spine when politicians from western Maharashtra are fighting for their piece of pie.

    Anyways, I strongly beleive that its the people who can make or break their city/state and not the politicians. We need a few more new businessmen and we need more financial activity in Nagpur/Amravati.

    Less politics and more productivity is the key.

  16. The debate is shaping up and I’m happy to see lot of people speaking pro-Vidarbha.

    @Nitin: I know separation will not guarantee immediate growth and prosperity. But it will at least give us a chance to out grow our neighbours. Think about this- what will happen when the entire knowledgeable and efficient Vaidarbhian work force comes back to Nagpur/Amravati and starts working for the betterment of Vidarbha and not Maharashtra?

    • Are you delusional or something. This separate vidarbha of yours is not happening in the foreseeable future. Get real. To severe ourselves from the most developed region in South Asia in the height of stupidity. I’m from Amravati and must tell all you Nagpuris that you should get over this angst. C.P. is history and Maharashtra is the present and future while vidarbh was but a vile dream of the evil forces. Jai Maharashtra. Jai Shivaji. Jai Amravati. Jai Varhaad.

  17. i think Vidarbha Should get sepearate from maharashtra as if we see development in Chattisgarh and Uttarakhand it is amazing. If we check out many of our Nagpur guys are working in MNCs at Mumbai and Pune. Raju Hirani (Maker of 3 Idiots), Vikram Pandit (CEO of City group), Hemant Karkare (Formar ATS Chief), Nitinaji Gadkari are from our Nagpur only. If it get seperate then we can concentrate on various departments like tourism, technology, Education & infrastructure etc..

  18. A quick question: If the Govt decides to allocate super large funds to Vidarbha, would you still want it to separate?
    Debate continued:

    Will folks who have gone to Pune and Mumbai and abroad come back to Amravati and Nagpur if Vidarbha separates?
    Will you go back yourself??? Do you know anybody who will go back as soon as Vidarbha separates??? Is there a reason for this optimism?

    People migrate where good jobs are. Millions from UP and Bihar have migrated to Mumbai. UP and Bihar are separate states (and resource rich), however, its the citizens of those states decided to destroy their children’s future by overindulgence in politics. And so we have people from those ‘separate’ states coming to Mumbai despite being hated by locals. Why wouldn’t same thing happen to people in Vidarbha? Are our politicians better than theirs?

    I do not beleive that separate Vidarbha state (or country) will do any good. What’s the tax base of Vidarbha? Not much. It will be dependent on the center to dole out yearly aid. We may have large mineral deposits but we can claim it only if we become a separate country. Would you be willing to ask for that?

    I do not view Chattisgarh and Jharkhand as progressed states. I have been to both states and they look/feel just the same. Some leaders have apparently progressed and cities like Bhilai, Ranchi, Jamshedpur/tatanagar look alright…other than that poverty hasn’t been reduced. Education is not improved and they are where they were a decade ago.
    Please provide any evidence of progress in newly created states.

    The basis of separate Vidarbha demand is that Western Maharashtra has ill-treated Vidarbha.
    This actually means that MLAs from western Maharashtra have ignored demands from MLAs from Vidarbha. And these defeated MLAs instead of doing soul searching are making millions to go thru this battle.

  19. Hi
    Though I don’t belong to Maharashtra or Vidarbha but I am a supporting of breaking the bigger states of India into smaller states. In my opnion AP, Maharashtra, UP, MP, Rajasthan all should be broken into states between sizes ranging from Haryana to Gujrat. There is no doubt that the states of those sizes have performed very well and the bigger state wholly or large chunks or them have not performed. But all said I am against the smaller states of size of Goa or NE states. The defining principle for me the team management theory I read in Management. A team in state can be defined by no of MP’s or DM’s which mostly are similar. AN effective team is of the size between 5 to 25 as per the scientific studies. To my astonishment the best performing state have no of MP’s and DM between this no only. Besides this there are many other points which I have mentioned in my blog which will be updated with this topic on 7th Feb, 2010.

    I was reading the various comments posted by Nitin Gulhane and would definitely like to answer from my perpective. Correct me if I get wrong anywhere

    Would we have more jobs?

    YES,Whenever government spending is increased it does not create government jobs. It leads to increased spending in whole of economy which is known as “Domino Effect”. It is for this region during recession the government’s around the world gave stimulus package due to this simple effect. I ll try to explain this in simple terms with example of city of Dehradun and Uttrakhand. Due to new government job’s in Dehradun many people came to the city. They inturn required housing. Now these houses need to be constructed. For that many private companies and contractors will start to come to the city. Hence more jobs. To cater to the construction people and government people, many shops of basic needs etc will be set. More employment in that form. TO support all these things Banks would have to come and will come in both private and public sector. Hence more people getting jobs in MNC’s also, hence more housing. This chain continues. This is a simple example I have put to make you understand the effects.

    Would we get more aid from the center?

    NOT ESSENTIAL,Why aid from the center. Viadarbha can focus on the cotton. In present maharashtra there are too many tasks to be done. U need to take care of Sugar Cane, Farming in Konkan, then Cotton, hence a reduced effect. In this new state cotton can be a speciality. Industries can be developed around the same, and infact garment export form a major chunk of the total exports. The whole purpose is to create a condusive atmosphere and private investment will come in. Alone government spending or aid can do nothing

    Would we get more electric power for our own use?

    YES. Though the present resources would have to be divided with maharashtra, still after division Vidarbha will have assured share of electricity, which as per present stats it is not getting. And to make a point clear, the power resources are a property of the state and not of the center.After the division any new project and whole of Vidarbha will have the first right to electricity. Hence even minor investments in this area means increase in power for the state

    Would we benefit from natural resources that we have?

    YES, definitely. You rightly said that resources are central property, for using the minerals you give jobs and jobs now, atleast non skilled one will be to the locals of Vidarbha not Maharashtra. The state with its policies can also encourage Industries around the resources which would bring money to the state

    Would our education system improve?

    MOST LIKELY. A own state board, Universities, a better focus, are all the factors which are pointers towards the same. Haryana when carved out of my home state had pathetic education levels. Over the years (Though still not upto the mark), these levels are at similar levels as Punjab and much better than Bigger states of UP, Rajasthan. In short due to trifurication all 3 states ie Haryana, Punjab & HP benefited

    Would we have more transperent Govt machinary?

    Atleast the region will have a government which is responsible to that area. It is not like the government of Maharashtra which can easily dodge questions on your area by citing other area’s

    I must say a very good mature discussion. Would love to read more comments on the same


  20. @Jashan: Good points altogether.

    I’m happy to let the debate take shape as long as the cause of Vidarbha is addressed. I’m staying out of this debate as of now.

  21. i think…………………….making vidharba as a new state will take much time as india took after seperation and as a result till now we r in developing list. after seperation we will have to start from ground level which will surely take time.

  22. Hi,
    I do agree with you all, but seperation is not the solution for development and growth. Let us start a movement where we can expose the things which are done by our politicians.

    I do had little research on this and oberved that The BJP leader Nitin Gadkari Sir, will definitly lead Vidharbha towards development.

    But here out contributions matter, when Mihan will start the please stop coming to West maharashtra as huge oppotunites will waiting for us at Nagpur and region.

    Then it will be very much balanced, People from Marathwada and West maharashtra may have plenty of Job Opportunites they can either go to Pune, Mumbai or Nagpur.

    So here we have to start developing our area. Be a part and initiator of this Movement.

    Thanks !

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