Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis’ hometown Nagpur appears to have taken a big leap forward towards the goal of becoming an investment hub. During the recently-concluded Make in India Week, the city attracted commitments in all major sectors — electronics, textile, defence, infrastructure, agro-industries etc.
The orange city, which has been reeling in the shadow of an agrarian crisis with Vidarbha registering the highest number of farmer suicides, is being promoted by the Centre and the state to draw greater investments both global and domestic.
At the Make in India Week-2016, Nagpur emerged as one of the most sought-after destinations after Mumbai, Pune, Nashik and Auranbagad, with private players keen on industrial growth in diverse sectors. Under the state government’s Make in Maharashtra drive, Nagpur will be developed an electronics hub.
Fadnavis said, “The Nagpur-Mumbai Super Communication Highway project will be a game-changer as it will not only uplift the farmers in Vidarbha but also bring economic prosperity through development in North Maharashtra and Marathwada.” The Rs 30,000-crore project will make the road travel between Nagpur and Mumbai possible in eight hours. Industry representatives, when spoken to, said they found Nagpur well connected, though it required rapid growth in infrastructure and hospitality.
With an impetus on the airport infrastructure sector, the Nagpur airport has been listed for further expansion into an international airport, apart from Mumbai and Pune. The chief minister said, “The land for second Pune airport will be approved in a few months. The Navi Mumbai airport will be completed in 2019.”
At present, the total traffic handled by three international and seven domestic airports works to 35 million people, of which the maximum load is in on Mumbai and Pune (31 million). There are plans to begin short-distance flights on Mumbai-Nashik, Mumbai-Nanded and other routes with private partnership.
In the last six decades, the maximum industrial development in Maharashtra was confined to the golden corridor of Mumbai-Pune-Nashik. Auranbagad has emerged in the last decade. Attempts to develop Nagpur have not made much headway despite Butibori being an industrial hub. At the successive meetings to discuss Make in India and Make in Maharashtra drives, the state government has told the investors to explore new avenues to ensure regional development. Unlike in Mumbai, Pune, land is not an issue in Nagpur, which is rich in coal and minerals.
Work on the Metro Rail project is on in full swing in Nagpur. It will have two corridors, 38.2 km in length, and will provide jobs to 1,700 people. While Mumbai already made its Metro operational, the Pune project is under way. Nagpur is also a part of the auto hub along with Mumbai, Nashik, Pune and Aurangabad.
Fadnavis said he believed greater investments would be attracted by narrowing down the distances. Barely a two hours’ drive from Nagpur is Amravati city, which is evolving as the country’s largest textile hub. The Centre and the state have announced a slew of concessions to promote the textile sector not only in Amravati but across others hubs. It includes 5-7 per cent subsidy for all new projects and 10 per cent capital subsidy for any new project in Vidarbha and Marathwada. The Centre will grant 40 per cent of the project cost or a maximum of Rs 40 crore for new projects.
The Centre, which has opened up foreign investment in defence manufacturing, has also identified Nagpur among the defence hubs along with Mumbai, Nashik, Pune and Aurangabad. The list of players ready to invest in defence hubs include Wipro, HAL, Tata, Kirloskar, Bharat Forge, L&T and Centum Electronics.