A couple of days before the Election Commission is set to announce dates of the Lok Sabha elections, the Maharashtra government under Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis is on the spree of taking populist decisions and inaugurating development works.
Setting a record in the state’s administration, the Fadnavis government on Tuesday took 22 decisions at the last Cabinet meeting, that lasted for 105 minutes, before the model code of conduct comes into force. In another record, the meeting began half an hour behind its schedule as Fadnavis reached at the meeting venue late. He got delayed as he was busy in laying foundation stone of a jewellery park in Navi Mumbai.
In an attempt to pacify the agitating Dhangar community, the government has decided to name the Solapur University after the Dhangar icon Ahilyadevi Holkar, the queen of erstwhile Indore kingdom. Minister for Animal Husbandry Mahadev Jankar said that the government has taken the decision as there was a huge demand from the people.
The community members are agitating demanding a status of Scheduled Tribe (ST) instead of the present Vimukta Jati (VJ). While the STs have six percent reservation the VJs have only 2.5 percent of it.
The Cabinet also decided to extend the benefits of 7th pay commission to the employees of non-agriculture universities and the private education institutes associated with recognised universities. That will hike salaries of around 27,000 employees. It will have a financial burden of Rs 2,584 crore of which the state and the Centre will bear half each.
Prior to the Cabinet meeting, Fadnavis inaugurated the Chipi Airport in Sindhudurg district. The new airport in the coastal Konkan region has a capacity to handle 400 passengers per hour and has been constructed at a cost of Rs 520 crore. The CM also inaugurated a Clean Street Food hub at the Girgaum Chowpaty.
Last Saturday, Fadnavis announced to extend schemes meant for the ST to the agitating Dhangar community.
On Sunday, he inaugurated the newly built Parel terminus on the Central line of Mumbai suburban railway network. On the same day he also threw open the second phase of Monorail from Wadala to Saat Rasta. On Monday the CM handed over keys of houses constructed by the Slum Rehabilitation Authority (SRA) to eligible beneficiaries of Airport land.
The days ahead will also see the CM inaugurating several projects in Nagpur. From a local police station to internal roads, Fadnavis will be seen breaking coconuts and cutting ribbons on Wednesday. On Thursday, he will also inaugurate the first phase of the Nagpur Metro. Prime Minister Narendra will be flagging off the Metro via video conferencing.
The opposition has taken a dig at the inauguration spree, calling it a fear of loss. “They are so desperate that they are even inaugurating half complete projects. This clearly shows that the fear of loss in the forthcoming elections is looming large” said Nawab Malik, spokesperson of the NCP.