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MIHAN Symposium
Minutes of the Symposium on Feasible Solutions for a Vibrant MIHAN
on 24th May 2014 at VIA Hall, Civil Lines, Nagpur

MIHAN is the Largest Infrastructure Project that is crucial for the development of Nagpur and Vidarbha. However, the pace of the project is very slow because of various constraints. The ongoing power tangle, culminating into termination of power supply, a couple of days back, could be the biggest hurdle that is causing a severe setback to the entire project.

If the things are allowed to move unchecked, they may lead to the eventual retreat of the industries from MIHAN. Such an unsolicited catastrophic situation is bound to retard the growth of Nagpur, as also Vidarbha and Maharashtra. It would also severely impair the employment potential for years to come.

In the light of the above background, Dept of Economics, Nagpur University, and Shantiniketan Business School have jointly organised a symposium under the auspices of Dr. Vinayak Deshpande, Pro Vice Chancellor, Nagpur University at VIA, Udyog Bhavan on 24th May 2014 to explore feasible solutions for a vibrant MIHAN. Shri Yoganand Kale, Ex Pro VC of Nagpur University and several prominent personalities and stakeholders of MIHAN attended the symposium and expressed their concerns and apprehensions on the slow pace of MIHAN’s growth and development.

Cheaper power is the key that provides competitive advantage for MIHAN over other SEZs. Power connectivity in MIHAN SEZ at the subsidised tariff was promised by Government of Maharashtra. In spite of this, there is black out at MIHAN and unit holders are forced to take power at the higher tariff from other sources, which may work out to almost three times the promised rate. As a result the cost of production is shooting up by over twenty percentage points whereby the basic viability of the units is impaired severely. The mute question is “ If Mumbai can get power at Rs 3.15 why not MIHAN at Rs 2.97/- ?”. There is an apparent urgency to evolve short term, medium term and long term solutions towards affordable power for MIHAN. Probably, uninterrupted power at reasonable tariff to the MIHAN SEZ can be provided by those who have already set up the necessary infrastructure for the purpose.

Industrialists, today, prefer investing in land in MP and Chattisgarh, rather than Maharashtra and Vidarbha. The fact that Industries continue to prefer investing in MP and Chattisgarh rather than Vidarbha or MIHAN warrants a critical appraisal of the approach towards the development of MIHAN in terms of compatible facilities to the intending industrialists.

The world class infrastructure created by MIHAN by investing hundreds of crores of rupees remains hardly utilised; the employment potential for lakhs and lakhs of qualified youth of Vidarbha remains unfulfilled; the value addition amounting to thousands of crores of rupees; as also the perceived growth in per capita income continue to remain a distant dream. It is estimated that MIHAN could facilitate direct employment of over a lakh of persons and indirect employment of over three lakhs of families. It can also give a big push to the per capita income levels of the region. However, the stalemate in the take off of MIHAN has brought the entire developmental activity of the region to a standstill. This, in turn, is leading to multiple, social and economic worries.

It is relevant to remember that Rashtrasant Tukadoji Maharaj Nagpur University has permitted opening of several colleges to cope up with the anticipated Human Resource Needs of MIHAN which has gone haywire because of the slow pace. In the process, the financial viability of several educational institutions is affected. In addition, the unemployment levels of the region have gone up considerably.

Serious issues of Law and Order are expected to be faced in MIHAN, due to large scale unemployment prevailing under the present circumstances. The existing units are likely to close down and no growth of the MIHAN project may be expected in future. It is also afraid, that if power situation in MIHAN SEZ is not immediately normalised, the SEZ may come up for De-Notification by the Government of India.
Despite everything, MIHAN SEZ continues to be the project of hope for the development of Export Potential Units, Soft Ware Parks, Health City, Dedicated Power Plants, Rail and Road Terminals, World Class Aeronautical Industry, Non Conventional Energy Sources, and so on. The need of the hour is Time Bound Action Plan.

Taking cognizance of the above facts, the participating stakeholders have resolved to appeal to the chief Minister of Maharashtra to intervene immediately for:

1. Evolving Feasible propositions for a speedy development of MIHAN with a time specific action plan
2. Mitigation of the owes of MIHAN Industrialists including providing power at cheaper rates
3. Creating employment avenues to the students of the local universities, and thus enabling the augmentation of the Social and Economic Upliftment of Vidarbha.

Dr. Sreehari Chava
Director, Shantiniketan Business School

Dr. Sneha Deshpande
HOD, Department of Economics, RTMNU

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