On Saturday, Maharashtra Chief Minister Eknath Shinde unveiled a development package amounting to ₹45,000 crore for the Marathwada region within the state. Additionally, he announced revised administrative approvals for irrigation projects valued at ₹14,000 crore.
These declarations were made during a press conference held in Chhatrapati Sambhajinagar, following a special meeting of the state cabinet. The government convened this cabinet meeting in commemoration of the 75th anniversary of Marathwada Liberation Day, also known as Marathwada Mukti Sangram Din, celebrated annually on September 17. Historically, Marathwada was a part of the Nizam-ruled Hyderabad kingdom.
This cabinet meeting marked the first of its kind in Marathwada in seven years, with the previous one held in the region in 2016.
The Marathwada region encompasses eight districts, including Chhatrapati Sambhajinagar (formerly known as Aurangabad), Dharashiv (formerly known as Osmanabad), Jalna, Beed, Latur, Nanded, Hingoli, and Parbhani.
"A package of ₹ 45,000 crore will be given for the development of Marathwada. Apart from this, revised administrative sanctions will be given to irrigation projects worth 14 thousand crore rupees for the region. This paves the way for bringing eight lakh hectares of land under irrigation," Mr Shinde said, as reported by PTI.
Deputy Chief Ministers Devendra Fadnavis and Ajit Pawar, along with several state ministers, joined the press conference, accompanying Mr. Shinde.
Addressing concerns raised by certain opposition leaders, Mr. Shinde dismissed the allegations that the Chief Minister, his deputies, and ministers were accommodated in five-star hotels in the city for the cabinet meeting.
"Just to clarify, all of us are staying in the government guest house," he emphasized.
On Friday, Maharashtra Congress president Nana Patole criticized the state government, alleging that it had spent several crore rupees on the cabinet meeting, which he considered insensitive to the plight of people affected by drought-like conditions in Marathwada.
Vijay Wadettiwar, the Leader of the Opposition in the assembly, similarly pointed out that Marathwada was grappling with drought-like conditions while five-star hotels were allegedly reserved for the chief minister, the two deputy chief ministers, ministers, and bureaucrats.