(Eds: Adding quotes on Aarey Colony) Mumbai, Jan 26 (PTI) Maharashtra faced a financial blow during the COVID-19 crisis, but the Maha Vikas Aghadi (MVA) government took different measures to come out of the situation, Governor Bhagat Singh Koshyari said on Tuesday.
Addressing a programme in Marathi at the Shivaji Park here to mark the 72nd Republic Day, Koshyari said Maharashtra remained at the forefront of attracting investments and employment generation even during the adverse situation of COVID-19 crisis.
He hailed the government machinery for working 'day and night' hand-in-hand with the state's health apparatus, and said that is why people welcomed the New Year with 'a positive beginning and lots of hope'.
The governor also urged people to exhibit the 'same courage' shown during the COVID-19 crisis and remain alert about health by adopting a new lifestyle with self-discipline.
He also said the state government declared 808 acres of area in the Aarey Colony in Mumbai as a reserved forest to curb pollution in Mumbai.
'Though we faced calamities like COVID-19, hailstorm, cyclone Nisarg, untimely rains and bird flu, we are marching ahead in all sectors. During the COVID-19 crisis, the state received a financial blow, but my government took different measures to come out of this situation,' he said.
'We are combating all these calamities with might and determination, and I am confident that we will keep the tradition of development of Maharashtra by converting calamity into opportunity,' he said.
Koshyari noted that the number COVID-19 patients has come down, but said people need to remain vigilant.
The governor stressed on giving utmost priority to maintaining social distance, wearing masks and washing hands regularly.
He said the government implemented its 'My Family My Responsibility' campaign successfully by creating awareness among citizens.
The state government has given benefit of Rs 20,000 crore to the 30 lakh registered farmers under its Mahatma Jyotirao Phule farmers' loan waiver scheme during the period of one year, he said.
The government has launched a campaign of 'whatever is sold would be cultivated' for farmers and under the initiative, projects of developing district-wise and crop-wise 1,345 value chains are being implemented, he said.
'I am also happy to mention that the state government has purchased cotton to the extent which is a record in the last 10 years. For the first time, this year, my government purchased un-milled food-grains during the Rabi season,' the governor said.
During the COVID-19 crisis, the government reduced the price of 'Shiv Bhojan' lunch plate to just Rs 5.
There are over 900 Shiv Bhojan centres made functional in the state and more than 2.5 crore needy people have benefitted from the scheme, Koshyari said.
He said Maharashtra remained at the forefront of attracting investment and employment generation even during the adverse situation of COVID-19 crisis.
The state attracted investments worth Rs 2 lakh crore by inking memorandum of understanding (MoU) with various leading companies and through foreign direct investment under the 'Magnetic Maharashtra 2.0' initiative, he said.
'Employment generation for 2,53,880 people will be there through this investment and it is a big achievement of my government,' he said.
The governor also said that the government provided a financial assistance of Rs 5,000 to more than 10 lakh construction and Mathadi workers during the lockdown period.
Shelter homes and meals were provided to labourers who had to migrate due to the lockdown and workers from other states, he said.
On the issue of women's safety, Koshyari said the government has prepared Shakti bill, and added that it is creating the first separate women's battalion in the State Reserved Police Force.
He said work on the coastal road, that will connect Mumbai island city to western suburbs, is going on in a 'speedy' manner.
'The Metro services in cities of Mumbai, Pune and Nagpur will soon become functional so that it will help reduce the pressure on local train service,' he said.
The 'Hindu Hriday Samrat Balasaheb Thackeray Maharashtra Prosperity' highway corridor, joining various districts of Maharashtra, will also become functional soon, the governor said, adding the stretch between Nagpur and Shirdi on this corridor will be opened for traffic soon.
The governor said that the state government declared 808 acres of area from Aarey Colony as a reserved forest to curb growing pollution in Mumbai.
'It is worth to mention that we have declared Kanhargaon in Chandrapur district as a sanctuary. Kanhargaon has become the 50th sanctuary in the state and a nod has been given to 10 new reserved areas for conservation,' he added.
The governor said the government's decision of reducing stamp duty for house purchase has helped revive the construction sector and in addition helped bring the state economy to normalcy.
'During the period of four months between September and December last year, property registration has increased by 48 per cent while revenue has increased by Rs 367 crore, compared to previous year of 2019 for the same period,' he said.
The government has made changes in the 7/12 extract for the first time after eight decades, Koshyari said.
'Twelve changes like water mark, unique code will result in curbing the irregularities in land matters,' he added. PTI ENM GK NSK NSK