Vidarbha's statehood issue under Centre's domain: Devendra Fadnavis

Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis on Saturday said the issue of statehood to Vidarbha was in the domain of the Centre and it would take a decision at an appropriate time.

When asked about BJP's support to Vidarbha statehood and ally Shiv Sena's staunch opposition (to that issue), Fadnavis said differences between the two parties over the issue existed for last 25 years.

"BJP supports smaller states since it feels they are engines of growth while Shiv Sena is a proponent of 'sanyukta' Maharashtra (combined Maharashtra). Creation of small states is not in the domain of the state government. The Centre will take a decision in this regard at an appropriate time," Fadnavis said.

He was speaking during the 'meet the press' programme organised by the 'Mantralaya and Vidhimandal Vartahar Sangh' to mark the completion of one year of his government.

To a question on the rising incidence of crime in his home town Nagpur, Fadnavis said, "rising incidence of crime is not a good thing. But, don't go by the statistics. It cannot be a yardstick to describe a city as a crime capital. Describing Nagpur as a crime capital is an attempt to
malign me. Opposition can criticise me but don't give my home town a bad name."

The Chief Minister said law and order can be judged from the number of criminal cases registered and the conviction rate. "In the last one year, the conviction rate has gone up from about 9 per cent to 42 per cent," Fadnavis who holds the Home portfolio said.

To a question about law and order situation in Mumbai after the Shiv Sena forced cancellation of Ghulam Ali's concert and painting the face of an organiser of book launch by former Pakistan Foreign minister with ink, Fadnavis said it would be inappropriate to pass judgement over law and order in Mumbai over one or two incidents. "The situation in Mumbai is peaceful. People from different walks of life and countries visit the city," he said.

The Chief Minister further said Mumbai would be covered by CCTV network by October 2016. "The first phase of 1,400 cameras out of the total 6,000 in Mumbai would become operational next month. While the entire mega-polis would be covered by October 2016," he added. The first phase includes the South zone (island city) and all the 1,400 cameras would go live anytime after November 15, he informed.

Fadnavis said 25,000 houses would be constructed every year for Adivasi (tribal) and scheduled caste families by relaxing all criteria. He said there are 2.4 lakh Adivasi (tribal) families who do not have a house of their own. "At present,there are housing schemes for tribals and scheduled castes but adequate housing stock has not been created for them as yet", Fadnavis added.

The Chief Minister also said nutritious food would be given to Adivasi women in remote tribal areas in advanced stages of pregnancy as an effort to tide over malnutrition deaths.

Fadnavis described his first year in office as an attempt to provide a 'transparent' and 'expeditious' direction to the administration. "We inherited the state facing huge debt, budgetary deficit and enormous expectations from the people. It would be wrong to judge our one year with 15 year of misrule of the Congress-NCP.

"But we have made satisfactory attempt to move in the direction of finding solutions to the long pending problems," he added. The Chief Minister said in the last one year, mega infrastructure projects like Metro railway, coastal road and trans harbour link have been expedited. "The first year has been the start of acche din (better days)", he said.

Fadnavis rejected allegations of corruption against his ministers. "Opposition should come up with concrete proof. We never violate rules," he said, adding that allegations against his ministers were false. "The procurement policy brought by us is transparent due to which the state exchequer will save Rs 1,000 crore," he said.

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