Embrace the development, don’t try to stall it!
Some 24 years have elapsed since I began a career as people’s representative from Sindhudurg district of Konkan region. All these years, I made sure that whatever may be the post, be it an MLA, minister, Chief Minister or Leader of Opposition and now minister, betterment of my beloved Konkan region and uplifting the living standards of its citizens would be my top and only priority. As much happy as I am proud today to declare that, I have mostly succeeded in achieving my goal. I have made a contribution to transform Sinhdudurg district. Parameters such as basic infrastructure, standard of education, industrial output, per capita income of the citizens have all undergone marked improvement All this has been achieved after thorough inspection and investigation and after having taken countless painstaking corrective measures. I do not claim that the transformation is complete. Yet, nobody would disagree that this district that was once considered a laggard on economic and social scale, has caught up with many other forward moving districts in Maharashtra. Progress and a sense of new-found ambition is encouraging countless number of youth to take up public service commission exams to become IAS and IPS officers. They are taking up key administrative postings in district and elsewhere. More are striving to take up MBA degrees and excel in the corporate world. Students from Konkan region topping class X and class XII merit lists is commonplace. These developments satisfy me to no end.
Sindhudurg district was in the past dubbed as backward. Not any more. Today its per capita income surpasses that of Sangli district by a good 1000 rupees! Indeed a proud achievement, since Sangli is located in supposedly prosperous western Maharashtra region. Due to modern infrastructure and opportunities, many youths have given a preference to self-employment over conventional jobs. Many have turned into small and medium scale contractors. It is heartening to learn that these youngsters have understood the potential in local yields such as mango, cashew, coconut, betel nut and are actively involved in food processing industry sourced from these yields. Some are involved in the export business of processed items. All this activity has generated healthy employment and self-employment. The network of English medium schools along with Marathi medium schools is ever expanding. Also on the rise are various institutions that impart technical and professional training. An ITI at Sindhudurg taluka, an engineering and polytechnic college at Kankavli, a horticulture college at Vengurle are but a few examples. Soon there will be a full fledged Medical college in the district. The point is, educational infrastructure is no more a constraint in Sidhudurg. Now these well educated and trained youth need more and more jobs and employment opportunities to achieve financial prosperity and stability. To fulfill their dream we need more industries, business parks, factories. That is the path I want to follow. I envision more industries and businesses in Sindhudurg. And things are moving in right direction. Look at the upcoming Sea-World at Malvan that will soon become a worldwide attraction. The construction work of a state of the art Redi port is in full swing. Completion of this port will enable import of foreign goods into Konkan and export of local produce to all corners of the world. Without disturbing cultivation activities on active farmlands, efforts are on to bring in and erect industrial units on wasteland that has long been abandoned. Special attention is being accorded to give adequate compensation to the owners whose land has been acquired. Land acquisition is under process for a special MIDC exclusively for garment industry at Kasarde in Kankavli taluka. This project is also expected to give huge boost to employment in the district. Another MIDC measuring 750-1,000 acres in area has already been announced at Dodamarg taluka in the vicinity of Goa and Karnataka. It is important to note that such a demand was forwarded by local farmers themselves. We are looking forward to erect factories based on clean technology that has the potential to generate large scale employment.
The development of Sindhudurg district depends heavily upon developing four key sectors namely agriculture, horticultural, tourism and industries. An aerodrome is being erected at Parule site specifically to give a boost to these sectors. National Highway No. 17 passes through Konkan. In this region this highway is being relaid into four lanes. Work has begun in earnest on phase -1 covering a section between Panvel and Poladpur. Work on phase-2 covering a section between Poladpur and Sawantwadi has received necessary approval. This will go a long way to improve transport situation in Konkan. That is not all. Dr. Nilesh Rane, MP from Ratnagiri-Sindhudurg constituency has been following up the issue of constructing a second track on Konkan Railway with the Central Government. Districts of Sindhudurg and Ratnagiri have been included in the proposed Delhi-Mumbai industrial corridor. So connectivity through sea-way, airway, railway and highway is only improving in Konkan! This improvement is sure to herald development that will bring about prosperity in Sidhudurg and Konkan.
Konkan abounds in natural beauty, that is a well known fact. But with economic growth it can also make a mark on national map as a stable and prosperous district. As I am interacting with you I have a clear picture of what I did for Konkan in these 24 years. I also possess a distinct vision of what I would be doing for this region in future. I feel extremely privileged to represent Konkan. I humbly accept the faith bestowed upon me by Konkani Manus. For me the well being of Konkani Manus is of paramount importance. I have made sure that the image of Konkan rose in stature and influence in various fields including politics. One can not proceed in this state without giving the issues of Konkan due attention. This is the reality today, made possible by me with the support and blessings from you all.
Next year will witness Loksabha polls in the centre and assembly polls in the state. As we approach these polls, I can see that most of my opponents – in the opposition as also from elsewhere – have sprung to life! The name Narayan Rane figures almost everyday in most newspapers, often with loads of baseless criticism. Would my worthy opponents – in politics and media alike – be so kind as to explain how a district like Sindhudurg that used to receive Rs. 5-6 crores in aid, is now receiving in the tune of Rs. 100 crores for the same purpose? Without claiming any credit for this phenomenal rise, I would like to ask if this is not transformation, then what is it like? What is the basis for all these negative vibes and acrimony? From the day when I first contested for the Legislative Assembly in 1990 it seemed to be the single minded agenda for some to hold prejudice, animosity against me through various means. Why? What good does it serve? People in the district love me, adore my honesty. That is why they are electing and re-electing me from Sindhudurg. Same amount of love and faith has been accorded to my son. I have one model of development in mind. If my opponents want a different path towards development, let’s talk. Please come with some plan, concrete ideas. I am ready to discuss anything that will ultimately herald prosperity and sustainable development in my region. Discussion and debate is welcome, but what is the ground for unfair criticism and acrimony? Have I wronged anyone? Committed some crime? Is it my fault that you can not win elections, not offered any post of significance? Please get rid of this habit of opposing just for the sake of it! Else people will never put faith in you. This attitude is not helping the cause of Konkani Manus. Some of you have been involved in this mudslinging for 24 years, please stop now! Take the example of the Sea-World project. Not a single house or cattle-pen will be affected by it. The project itself is being created on low-yield land. Adequate compensation has been released. Yet those who oppose it are throwing all sorts of questions, without knowing anything! Sample these questions.. Why so much land? How big is the project? How many jobs will it generate? What is in it for the local population? Now, let me clarify that almost 60 % of the required land have already been sold. So, those who are opposing it are either the ones whose land can not be sold, or the ones whose land has already been sold! All known dirty tricks! Opposition to Redi port, opposition to Kasarde MIDC, opposition to aerodrome, opposition to Doadamarg MIDC.. opposition to any conceivable development project. So what projects exactly do you want? What kind of employment opportunities do you foresee? Can any of my opponents provide any satisfactory answer to these questions? Criticize me or do whatever you want. But you have no business to stall the progress of Konkan or stifle the aspirations of youth in this region. They will not spare you for such narrow-mindedness. Whatever information you seek will be provided to you through express channel. You can also get the details through RTI. But please do not mislead out of political animosity.
Shiv Sena was founded to safeguard the interests of Marathi Manus. So when almost all Marathi populace in Sindhudurg district is reaping benefits due to development, opposition to it simply defeats the very purpose for which this party was once created! Little wonder then, that Marathi people have since long disowned this party that drifted away from its objectives. Shiv Sena may regain some credibility and perhaps a few votes if its leaders show some heart to give credit to a Congress minister for development work. I want to appeal the people of my Sindhudurg district to answer back to these political leaders who mislead by criticising me. None of them ever had any grasp over important social, economic, educational, or issues related to health. That is the prime reason why I have decided to connect with my people through Prahaar!