Devendra Fadnavis
Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis | PTI
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Priority is Vidarbha, a BJP stronghold and Fadnavis’ home turf, which has lagged behind the rest of state in development.

Mumbai: With seven months to go for the Lok Sabha polls and a year for the state assembly elections, Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis has set a six-month deadline to complete all ongoing works across the state.

The CM office has identified 89 works across various districts that are required to be completed in the next six months. The focus of the entire exercise seems largely on Vidarbha, a BJP stronghold and Fadnavis’ home turf.

One of the BJP’s electoral promises was to give special attention to Vidarbha, which has lagged behind the rest of Maharashtra in development. The party had earlier criticised the previous Congress-NCP-led government for neglecting the region for years.

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Besides, Fadnavis also plans to review the district-wise performance of the state’s flagship schemes and pull up officials of areas with the poorest record so far.

“The idea is for the chief minister to actually go to the grassroots, see for himself how projects are panning out, identify problems and try to fix them within the next six months,” said a senior state government official.

“The CM will start his reviews from this month itself. We will draw up a schedule within the next two days.”

Senior bureaucracy pulled in

Fadnavis has engaged about 25 senior bureaucrats from Mantralaya, the state government headquarters, in this exercise. The planning department has created six teams — one for each of Maharashtra’s six divisions — to supervise the listed projects and schemes. While five teams have four bureaucrats each, one is consisted of five secretaries. All of them are headed by an additional chief secretary.

“The teams of secretaries are expected to have video conferences and meetings with the divisional commissioners, district collectors and the chief executive officers of the zilla parishads to monitor the current status of the projects and schemes,” said a senior bureaucrat.

“We are also expected to identify any problem and ask specific departments handling the projects to issue the necessary instructions, circulars or government resolutions to fix them,” the official added.

All this is expected to happen before Fadnavis takes his own review of districts in the particular division, the official said.

Vidarbha, a high priority

A majority of the 89 projects to be monitored are from the Vidarbha region. The 11 districts of Vidarbha together account for 78 of the 89 works that the CM plans to fast-track.

While the Fadnavis-led government promised that it would pay the same attention to Marathwada region that it had for Vidarbha, the government has picked only two works from that area for the CM’s personal review.

The works picked are highly local in nature, many of them to do with water supply, road, irrigation, health and education, area development and beautification, among others. In many of these projects, the tasks that the CM has set out for completion in six months are related to resolving long-standing hurdles.

For instance, the two works in the Latur district that Fadnavis wants done within six months are ensuring an old railway station land is made available for a super-speciality hospital and providing funds to acquire land for two local dams.

Similarly, the projects to be monitored in Vidarbha include a seed hub in Buldhana, approvals to plans of developing the Morna riverfront in Akola, work on sprucing up pilgrimage destinations of Shri Sant Sevalal Maharaj and Poharadevi in Washim, approvals to nine electricity sub-stations in Yavatmal, among others.

Another task in Vidarbha that Fadnavis plans to review is land acquisition for his pet project — the 701-km Mumbai-Nagpur expressway — for which state agencies have so far got 90 per cent of the total land requirement in its possession.

Fadnavis will review three projects in the Nashik division, including getting a pending payment of Rs 1,100 crore released from the Centre under the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme, and making land available for housing.

Besides, the list includes six projects from the Konkan division such as developing a policy for houses made with laterite stones considering the heavy rainfall in the region, making the necessary technical expertise available for the Raigad Fort, releasing Rs 650 crore under the Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana, among others.

District-level projects

The schemes that Fadnavis plans to review at the district level include the Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana (rural and urban), Jalyukt Shivar aimed at increasing soil moisture to battle drought, the Mukhyamantri Gram Sadak Yojana, Mudra Yojana, Dalit Vasti Sudhar Yojana among others.

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In all these schemes, Fadnavis plans to give a special focus on the three talukas in every district that have been laggards and pull up the officials and engineers concerned.

With Fadnavis also holding the home portfolio, he plans to monitor the conviction rate for every police station in the state, the number of cases solved, and the number of crimes against women.

“The CM’s office will seek clarifications from the four worst performing police inspectors on all these parameters in every district,” a bureaucrat said.

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