State suffers, as Congress dithers on Narayan Rane

Jul 31, 2014, 08:10 IST | Ravikiran Deshmukh

After Rane’s resignation, three key depts, responsible for industrial investment and development, have been left headless, with no one to clear new projects or files

The resignation of Industries Minister Narayan Rane has left three key state departments with no authority for project approvals or the clearance of files, affecting their working, as well as the industrial growth of the state.

Narayan Rane. File pic
Narayan Rane. File pic

What’s worse, since the resignation is yet to be accepted, the industries, ports and employment & self-employment departments haven’t been officially told whom to approach with their files, forcing them to go to the CM’s office each time.

Ever since the minister handed in his papers on July 21, his office at Mantralaya has stopped functioning. His staff members attend office but don’t do any official work, said a senior official from one of the departments.

“They have stopped accepting any files from the three departments, even documents that need quick decisions. We are left with no option but to approach the CM’s office, but no directions have been given to us to do so,” said the officer.

Rane, too, has stopped attending office and prefers to spend time at the Dnyaneshwari bungalow allotted to him, which is close to CM’s official residence, Varsha. According to officials, the situation cannot be allowed to persist as the important departments deal with industrial investment and development of infrastructure through Maharashtra Industrial Development Corporation (MIDC), among other things.

The industries minister is also the ex-officio chairman of the MIDC and in charge of the department of the development commissioner (industries) and the Maharashtra Small Scale Industries Development Corporation. Rane has had meetings with CM Prithviraj Chavan, MPCC chief Manikrao Thakre and AICC vice-president Rahul Gandhi, but the impasse is yet to end.

On Tuesday, CM Chavan, during an interview to a private news channel, had said Rane’s resignation had not been accepted and that he was still his Cabinet colleague. But, Rane did not attend the weekly meeting of the state cabinet yesterday, despite the venue Sahyadri state guesthouse being a stone’s throw from his bungalow.

Slow CMO
Officials told mid-day that they are also worried about the speedy disposal of files pertaining to the three departments as the CM is not known to be a quick decision maker. “Not just the CM, even officials from the CM’s office take days to go through the files, and then send them back with queries and request for additional information,” said an official from one of the departments, adding that this was not good for Maharashtra at a time when every state is competing to attract industrial investment.

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