The BJP-led state government, at its first cabinet meeting inAurangabad on Tuesday, announced a bonanza of over Rs 49,248 crore for Marathwada with major allocations for the irrigation sector and infrastructural development in the drought-prone region.
The package was announced at a time when protests rallies have been held across the state by the Maratha community, for reservations and justice for the death of teen who had been raped allegedly by some Dalits.
The allocation announced on Tuesday is nearly one-fifth of the state’s annual budget of Rs 2.56 lakh crore, and is said to be the highest for Marathwada.
The cabinet meeting was at tended by top ministers, including revenue minister Chandrakant Patil, finance minister Sudhir Mungantiwar and water resources minister Girish Mahajan and was held in Aurangabad after eight years.
Clarifying that the proposed expenditure would be over and above the spending planned in the annual budget, chief minister Devendra Fadnavis said, “Funds for the development of Marathwada should not be perceived as a package. It is a detailed financial outlay planned for different departments to carry out a time-bound action pro gramme over the next four years.”
Fadnavis said decisions taken during the cabinet meeting would have far-reaching effects on the development of Marathwada. On possible sources of funding for the multi-crore projects approved for the region, Fadnavis said the government would raise the money through bonds, besides roping in NABARD.
“The government was planning a special cabinet meeting in Aurangabad last year, but it did not happen due to drought conditions. We are not claiming all issues of the region have been successfully addressed in a single cabinet meet, but today’s meeting has prepared a roadmap of development for the region,” Fadnavis said.
Referring to expectations raised by the Opposition ahead of the meet, Fadnavis said, “Those who sat on issues of Marathwada for 15 years were hoping that we would address the same in a single meeting.”