Economical transformation is my goal!
On the occasion of Gandhi Jayanti, let me first wholeheartedly pay homage to Mahatma Gandhi. It is my sincere intention to appraise you of the current situation in Sindhudurg district. So I am connecting with people through ‘Haar aani Prahaar’ column being published in Prahaar. I have one simple goal to achieve, that of the economic development of Sindhudurg. With this powerful tool we can alleviate poverty and unemployment. It will also enhance living standards of so many people in Konkan. With over-pouring blessings of my voters and well-wishers, I have honestly and single mindedly utilized my position in various capacities towards attaining large scale and sustainable development of the region. I will keep highlighting this point in future as well.
It has always been my endeavor to observe and study in detail the development work undertaken by various ministers and MLAs, of past and present, in their respective constituencies as also in state. Now I have always yearned to make my own mark with an unique style and different approach to attain my goals so decidedly stayed away from copying any previous model. It is safe to say that with this approach I could create my own identity. Again, I would like to give all the credit to the people of Konkan and my beloved voters.
I consider myself extremely fortunate, for the people and voters of Konkan have not only given me votes but also over the years offered their immeasurable affection, as though I am part of their family. I sometimes feel truly overwhelmed because of this! Whenever I venture in the state or in the country, any person hailing from Konkan makes it a point to greet me as and when opportunity presents itself. Only the most fortunate receive such warmth of love, respect and affection. Knowing that I belong to such clan makes me feel perpetually indebted towards people of Konkan!
In the first part of ‘Haar aani Prahaar’ I have given you a rough idea about various projects that are either under construction or are in the pipeline in the district of Sindhudurg. If I have to give account of all the work that I undertook in the past 24 years, even a full issue of Prahaar won’t be enough to accommodate it! While on this mission, I have never ever belittled anyone regarding where he lives, how he eats or what he wears. That is not in my nature. However, same can not be said about my detractors.
Names of two stalwarts from the region are often quoted by critics. They are renowned parliamentarians Barrister Nath Pai and Madhu Dandawate. ‘Look at them.. and look at him!’, my critics would often say. I have healthy regard for these two leaders and have always held them in high esteem. Both of them have left a legacy of good work. At the same time, I would request my critics to recreate a picture of Sindgudurg from the past. What was it like then? Everything was missing.. clean drinking water, road network connecting villages, decent schools and adequate teachers, a robust healthcare system. Most households used to make do from meagre income out of petty money-orders sent by breadwinners living in Mumbai. The district of Sindhudurg was thus branded as poor and backward. The frenzy of development activity being carried out now means there was an acute backlog of it from the past. What do my critics have to say about it?
Mr. Pushpasen Sawant who never misses an opportunity to have a dig at me, had been an MLA for 10 years. Had he carried out enough development work during that tenure, generated reasonable employment in Kudal, Vengurle, there would have been nothing left for me to do! Less said is better of what he has (or hasn’t) done. I would just like to ask few questions. Do you have blueprint of future development? Are you working towards generating employment for the youth of this district? The answer to both theses questions is a resounding NO! Personal enmity and vindictive criticism is their motto and tool. This approach is singularly flawed. It can never facilitate development and prosperity.
Sindhudurg is famous for its scenic beauty. But it wasn’t before I followed up that it got the distinction of becoming the first tourism district in India. It is rich with natural resources. Nine types of minerals, a rich variety of fish, abundance of mango, cashew nut, betel nut, coconut, jack fruit, serene hill-station like Amboli, over 121 km long coastline and to top it all high level of intellect of local people. What more do you want? Instead of squabbling over petty issues, my critics should have come forward to form a united front to make Sindhudurg prosperous and economically stable. But it seems that these people have nothing better to do than playing dirty politics day in day out!
I want to quote one incident that took place during my visit to Deogad. A young girl handed me a chit of paper on stage which read her sorry plight: “I live in a nearby village. My father died six months ago and nobody in my house is earning. I have completed B. Com and now will have to shoulder the responsibility to feed my hungry siblings. If I don’t get a job soon, we have no option but to commit suicide.”
Now what will you do, my fellow detractors? Offer poison to that unfortunate girl or help her to sustain her family with job offer? If business and industry don’t come to Sindhudurg, how will our youth earn their living? Think about it. However, I sincerely doubt your ability and intention to think. This is something I have learned from my experience of the past 24 years. Let alone thinking, you don’t even talk about development. Nothing else but hatred and acrimony occupy your head. It is reflected in your word and deed. Like I said in the beginning, it is perhaps the biggest hurdle in the path of development of our region. I make it a point to refrain from any kind of personal criticism. Feel free to oppose me during the election. You don’t even need to praise all that has been done by me and my son, MP Dr. Nilesh Rane. But at least, try to get rid of this habit of tripping those who have decided to walk the path of development. I am here today, I may not be here tomorrow. But if anyone can do the amount of work I have done, please come forward. Try to win people’s trust and affection by enhancing their lives. Keep criticising me pointlessly and you will never win people’s hearts.
Sindhudurg has undergone phenomenal transformation in last 24 years. It is no more a backward and poor district, but a progressive and prosperous district. You elected me as MLA, you made my son an MP. We repaid this faith by tirelessly working towards development. Sugarcane yield is on the rise here. Almost to the tune of one lac tonne. This makes establishing sugar factory a conceivable possibility. On whose initiative has it happened? When I became Chief Minister, I made available all the necessary funds to construct dams in Sindhudurg. Development work worth Rs. 3000 crore is undergoing here. How did this happen? Who made this possible? Will my critics throw some light on this?
Tomorrow if all my political opponents came to me together and volunteered to establish a sugar factory; and even if this group included my relatives, I will still explore financial viability of their proposal. If convinced I will help them establish that factory. Those MLAs who can not solve any issue related to their constituency in Legislative Assembly or Legislative Council, find it to their convenience to criticise me and save their skin. But voters know better!
People of Sindhudurg know too well which party and candidate to elect to fulfill their dreams. They have done this in past and they will do it in the future. I would like to give just one message to my detractors : even if you criticise me relentlessly, I will never hold any grudge against you bearing in mind that after all you belong to my beloved Sindhudurg and Konkan. I will not try to expose any of the illegal activities you have partaken. I will not try to tarnish your image. I want to construct not destruct the image of Konkani Manus in public eye. By the grace of God, my conscience is clear and pure!