Separate Vidarbha – Pros and Cons and Vaccination Campaign

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Vidarbha is the northeastern region of Maharashtra, comprising the Nagpur and Amravati divisions. This region is named after the historic ancient kingdom of Vidarbha mentioned in the Mahabharata. It occupies 31% of the total land area and holds 21% of the total population of Maharashtra. Vidarbha has six of the major religions of the world, namely Hinduism, Jainism, Buddhism, Sikhism, Islam and Christianity. With a rich and distinct cultural background, the Vidarbha section is a beautiful blend of Marathi culture, with telougus from the south, Hindi speakers from central India, and tribes from Chhattisgarh.

Vidarbha owns more than half of Maharashtra’s mineral resources, three quarters of its forest resources, with excess power generation capacity. It is covered with thick tropical forests and has a surplus of minerals, electricity, cotton and rice. However, underutilized funds, blatant ignorance and apathy of vaccines (private hospitals in different districts of Maharashtra have the vaccine available for 18-44 years, none in Nagpur district) renewed the call for the separate Vidarbha.

The request for a separate state.

The demand for a Vidarbha state was first raised over 100 years ago. As a result, the legislature of the central provinces passed a resolution to create a separate state of “Mahavidarbha” on October 1, 1938 CE in Nagpur. It was more than two decades before the creation of Maharashtra. However, on May 1, 1960 CE, the state of Vidarbha merged with the state of Maharashtra under the Nagpur Pact. At that time, the city of Nagpur lost the status of state capital. Nagpur thus became the only city in autonomous India, which lost its “state capital status” after having historically been the capital of India’s most important state for over 100 years.

After the historic merger with Maharashtra, a winter assembly session is held regularly in Nagpur in December. However, contrary to the provisions of the “Nagpur Pact”, the session is never held for six full weeks. Additionally, although the session is meant to discuss particular issues related to Vidarbha, it proceeds like any other session of the Maharashtra State Assembly, dealing with all issues.

For this reason, and for many other reasons like the lack of allocation of funds, many groups around Vidarbha have started “The Vidarbha Movement”.

The Vidarbha movement, demanding state separation, includes various political activities organized by individuals, organizations and political entities to form a separate state of Vidarbha, within the Republic of India, with Nagpur as its capital.

The claim to statehood has been going on for many years, and the issue dies after every election. However, as we are at the heart of the Covid pandemic, the renewed call now comes, perhaps for the first time, from the young generation of social media.

In Maharashtra, Mumbai, Pune and a few other districts are conducting vaccination campaigns in private hospitals for the 18-44 age group. However, a youngster from Nagpur does not have such an opportunity at the moment.

Many private hospitals in Nagpur district have already contacted vaccine distributors; Unfortunately, they were denied vaccines according to information posted online. This angered young people in the Vidarbha region. It may have become the tip of the iceberg for the demand for a separate state. Young people in the region are raising voices against the administration on various social media platforms. I don’t want to mention hundreds of other problems faced by the people of the Vidarbha region, but let’s jump right to the main point of this article – The pros and cons of a new state of Vidarbha.

Benefits:

  1. As a small state, Vidarbha will be more flexible and better at reacting and adapting to challenges.
  2. If Jharkhand and Chattisgarh can function, Vidarbha will function better since Vidarbha has better educational infrastructure and better connectivity.
  3. The silent economic crisis that Vidarbha is currently facing will be addressed more effectively if Vidarbha does not have to share its resources with the urban towns of the Maharashtrian.
  4. Simpler administration, proper governance and focused policy making, the possibility of more conventional policy implementation and even the use of central funds are the main benefits that people can enjoy if there is a Vidarbha. separate.
  5. The tourism department and infrastructure can be strengthened in a new state.
  6. A new state of Vidarbha can solve problems such as droughts, labor migration, plight of farmers, power shortages and water scarcity by making better use of central funds.
  7. Many thermal energy projects exist in Vidarbha. A separate state means better use of resources.

The inconvenients:

  1. Fanatical regionalism is an obstacle to development. We are Indians first, and small states could become a problem in that sense.
  2. The economy of Vidarbha revolves around agriculture and natural resources. A bad rainy year could wreak havoc on tax collection.
  3. The confusion and lawlessness created by the formation of separate states has resulted in death and destruction in the past.

I am not writing this post to push my views for or against Vidarbha State. I just said the pros and cons above. I leave that to the readers. What do you think? Is Vidarbha self-sufficient?



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The opinions expressed above are those of the author.



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