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Highlighting developments at Mihan on politicians’ mind.


Date: 15-03-2019
Subject: Highlighting developments at Mihan on politicians’ mind
Nagpur: In 2008, Nitin Gadkari had addressed a jam-packed Yeswhant stadium where he said that the Mihan project would generate jobs running into lakhs. The audience were mainly youngsters. Ten years down the line, BJP is expected to once again raise the Mihan issue in its election propaganda. Both Congress and BJP see political mileage in highlighting developments in the Mihan-SEZ.

The project was mooted in the late 90s. The idea was supported by Gadkari who was then the state PWD minister as well as his rival in last Lok Sabha elections Vilas Muttemwar — the MP from Nagpur at that time. The original plan was to have a logistics hub and SEZ side by side. Today, the SEZ is ready and partially occupied, but the logistics hub is yet to be developed.

The jobs which Gadkari talked about in 2008 could not be created. Rather, the global recession led to many investors putting their plans on hold. There are signs of revival in Mihan now. However, Mihan has been overtaken by Metro Rail project as symbol of development for Nagpur. The rail line was inaugurated just in time before the election code of conduct came into effect.

Sources in the BJP say that the Metro project would be projected as sign a of BJP keeping its promise and implementing it within five years.

Chandan Goswami, in-charge of Vidarbha in BJP, said both Mihan and Metro will be included in the election propaganda. “Mihan has the potential to create as much as 50,000 jobs and the Metro rail will make commuting much easier,” he said.

A BJP source said that the party would be canvassing that the project was revived during its regime. Big companies like Patanjali Group and Dassault checked in and IT major HCL, which had remained dormant since it acquired land, started operations. Currently, the entire complex employs 12,000 people.

Mohan Dhoke, a businessman from Chhaoni locality, said that the inauguration event of the Metro lines will certainly have an impact on the voters’ psyche.

Muttemwar, who was also the strong advocate of the project, said there is enough to prove how the Metro rail is running for namesake and Mihan has been a non-starter during the BJP rule.

“The party was in a hurry to inaugurate the project before the elections. After the initial euphoria, there is hardly any traffic in the train. The viability of Metro depends on the number of jobs created in Mihan. At present, there a negligible traffic towards Mihan even as the Sitabuldi-Khapri route, which leads to Mihan, has become operational,” Muttemwar said.

“It’s easy to build the structure and hold an inaugural function. Making Metro viable is the real challenge,” he said. “There has been hardly any activity in Mihan during the last five years. Patanjali Group was granted land at a loss. The unit has not started yet. Even the Dassault unit has only generated a handful of jobs. Functional units like TCS had come during Congress rule,” he added.

“Mihan has been a big promise for the city when it came to providing jobs. The present development, including construction work on existing units, is expected to have a positive impact on voters. Now, the focus has to be on developing Nagpur airport for which GMR Airports Limited has been awarded the contract,” said Vilas Kale, former president of Vidarbha Economic Development Council (VED), the NGO which had mooted the idea of Mihan.

Source: timesofindia.indiatimes.com


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