The Vidarbha Economic Development Council (VED) held its Annual General Meeting on Sun. 5th Sept. 2021. Shivkumar Rao, President, welcomed the members on this 27th AGM making the introductory remarks. Varun Vijaywargi, Secretary-General, read the actions of the minutes of the last AGM highlighting that the committees of the Thrust Areas had rolled out the work successfully and systematically.
Shivkumar Rao read the President’s Report for 2020-2021. He spoke of VED’s work in the last year, on setting up of the petrochemical complex in Vidarbha, about the webinars that were held during the Covid lockdown, the problems faced by small mines, basic infrastructure needed in tourism, museum for Mansar excavations. Some great work was possible, he stressed, in fisheries, dairy, agro-tourism, and he emphasized a focus for next year on fisheries in the perennial water-bodies, offering maximum opportunities there. Wainganga could be given as a pilot project which would lead to a significant rise in the per capita income of the region.
Rao made a presentation on the impact VED has had since its inception, much of it eye-openers. A Cooperative Society formed by VED was taken over by the Horticulture Board and VED transferred the brand-name, ‘Mahaorange’ to the GoM.
In 1999, at a Mines & Minerals Expo, policy recommendation was made and a separate ministry was created for Mines and Minerals as well as a District Mineral Fund (DMF).
An agricultural fair, Agrovision, begun by VED, now being conducted mainly by MM Activ, now has 5-7 lakh footfalls where farmers flock to see how to improve their farming techniques etc. VED’s study on Haldi & Turmeric was conducted by the Indian Society for Agricultural Marketing which finally got Geographical Indications for these two Vidarbha produce. In dairy, seminars were held, which pulled huge crowds from all the districts of Vidarbha. Subsequently, VED’s fortnightly dairy workshops not only helped rural people but even city entrepreneurs to take up dairy farming.
Dinesh Naidu gave a brief sketch of the ASI Circle that came to be set up in Nagpur after VED’s intervention. After a PIL filed by VED and Adv. Ashish Jaiswal, a wall had been erected around the excavations, a ticket-counter and a small interpretation centre started, and a museum was to be set up to house the over 3000 excavated artifacts.
Varun Vijaywargi Secretary-General, spoke of future plans for VED. 1) Development of the hinterland, 2) Services that could come up as a centre here, and 3) To pitch for a second unit of International Financial Services Centre (IFSC) at MIHAN (first one being at GIFT city, Gujarat).
Heads of Focus Areas gave an account of the work done and future work planned in their respective areas, as follows:
Rahul Upganlawar, V-P, gave details of how IIM and IIIT were brought to Nagpur and that the Forum is all geared up to engage with the central & state government to ensure recognized educational institutions are located in Nagpur.
PPT by P. Maheshwari, V-P, was regarding 5 projects that could come up here: 1) Petrochemical complex, 2) Large integrated steel plant at Gadchiroli, 3) Large commando and disaster management institute at Gadchiroli, 4) Country’s largest manganese processing cluster, 5) 1st Tiger Airport at Gondia.
BK. Shukla, Head of the Focus Area on Mines and Minerals, informed that although 70 % of themineral wealth of the State is in Vidarbha, the Acts are irrational. People should come together to take up these issues, including the environment, with the Govt,.
Rajeev Agarwal, as Head of the focus area on Environment, requested we include environmental aspects and opportunities as NEERI has a lot of exciting opportunities such as converting food waste into useable gas etc; while the techniques are there, they are not being commercialized.
Devendra Parekh, IPP, announced that the Executive Committee members remained the same as in the earlier tenure, with the addition in the Executive Committee of Kamlesh Daga, representing Amravati. He said we intend to extend our activities to nearby districts like Amravati, Chandrapur, Gondia etc.
The Office-Bearers remained the same, as follows:
Shivkumar Rao -President, Devendra Parekh – IPP, Pankaj Mahajan, Pradeep Maheshwari & Rahul Upganlawar – Vice-Presidents, Varun Vijaywargi – Secretary General, Navin Malewar – Treasurer, Atul Tajpuriya, Dinesh Naidu & Malhar Deshpande – Joint Secretaries.
The Treasurer, Navin Malewar, made the Treasurer’s Report, Varun Vijaywargi proposed the vote of thanks.