'Just 5 districts have Maharashtra's 85 percent industries'

Pune, Nov. Nov 9 (IANS) Only five of Maharashtra's 35 districts account for 85 percent of all investment and industrialisation in the state, while other regions are left high and dry, Chief Minister Prithviraj Chavan said here Friday.

Making this startling revelation, Chavan said that Mumbai, Thane, Raigad, Pune and Nagpur account for 85 percent of all investment and industries.

"There is a need to look beyond these regions, as they cannot support any more industrialisation," Chavan said.

Union Agriculture Minister Sharad Pawar, speaking at the same function, said there should be no more industrialisation in Pune and its neigbhourhood.

"There is no water supply to support further industrialisation; industries should be diverted to other parts of the state," Pawar said.

Chavan and Pawar were speaking at a seminar on industrialisation organised as part of the ongoing platinum jubilee celebrations of the Maharashtra legislature.

The chief minister said that Maharashtra is now compared with other nations, rather than just being compared with other states within India.

However, there was a need for industries and investments to go to other parts of the state, including some of the most backward regions of eastern and northern Maharashtra and Marathwada.

On his part, Pawar said now industrial investment should focus on Vidarbha and Marathwada, as the existing five destinations were virtually saturated.

This would ensure balanced development of the state as well as open up newer employment and business avenues for the people in other regions of the state, he said.

Offering an assurance that all regions would get consideration in the state's new industrial policy, Industry Minister Narayan Rane said that the requirements of small, medium and large enterprises were all taken into consideration in the new policy.

"We are also giving special attention to the significant Delhi-Mumbai industrial corridor, for which we have already appointed an independent team of officers," Rane said.

Leader of Opposition in the legislative assembly Eknath Khadse said that industrialisation must permeate all corners of the state, to enable rural people to get employment.

Leader of Opposition in the legislative council Vinod Tawde said the proposed Delhi-Mumbai Industrial Corridor should give a boost to local industries, which in turn would help create more jobs for the people of the state.

Maharashtra assembly Speaker Dilip Walse-Patil also spoke on the occasion, at which top state leaders, industrialists and prominent personalities were present.