The changing contours of Maharashtra: Samruddhi Expressway to create huge opportunities for agriculture too

Three ongoing projects — PoCRA, SMART and MagNet — along with Samruddhi Mahamarg will bring about economic development in areas that the expressway is passing through in the next seven years, stated Maharashtra State Warehousing Corporation chief. He was speaking at a webinar organised by The Free Press Journal and Maharashtra State Road Development Corporation (MSRDC) on The Changing Contours of Maharashtra – primarily through the Samruddhi Expressway.

The panelists for the session ‘Agro-processing zones and value-adding agriculture’ were Deepak Taware, CMD, Maharashtra State Warehousing Corporation (MSWC); Arun Raste, Executive Director, National Dairy Development Board (NDDB); and Sachin Sharma, GM and Head-Channel Operations, ITC.

Project on Climate Resilient Agriculture (PoCRA), State of Maharashtra Agriculture and Rural Transformation (SMART) and Maharashtra Agribusiness Network (MagNet) are the three projects that are underway in various underdeveloped regions of Maharashtra.

Speaking at the session, Deepak Taware said, “These projects (PoCRA, SMART and MagNet) coupled with physical infrastructure of the roads will develop the areas around Samruddhi Mahamarg in the next five to seven years.” Taware added that anticipating the demand Samruddhi Mahamarg and upcoming 18 towns will generate, MSWC has acquired land in three locations — Vaijapur in Aurangabad, Sawargaon in Buldhana and Arvi in Wardha — close to the path of the Samruddhi Mahamarg.

Adding to it, Arun Raste said, “For Samruddhi Mahamarg and the upcoming towns to succeed you need to have a holistic approach. The role of the private sector is important here. In the back end, the government is supporting (the farmers) and in the front end, the market linkages will have to be provided by the private sector.” He stated that NDDB is working towards improving lives in Vidarbha and Marathwada regions. It has invested Rs 50 crore in Nagpur plant to refurbish it. "Today, that plant is processing 2 lakh litre of milk which has been given to us for 30 years lease." In Nagpur, NDDB is looking at enhancing breed and fodder improvement as well.

ITC works very closely with the Maharashtra government especially in respect of the SMART project. It believes that the expressway will help various ITC e-Chaupal projects. “Samruddhi Mahamarg will certainly be of help for all our projects as they are actively present in most districts through which the expressway is passing," said Sachin Sharma. “This will be helpful to the industry as a whole. This will allow perishables to move to bigger markets much faster.”

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